This is brilliant - came across the website almost by chance and only surfaced hours later with a nostalgic grin on my face, and sadness at learning of Bruce Liddington's death.
I have made two changes to the guestbook. The first was the new "Years at School" field, which was suggested by Colin Mynott. A good idea, Colin, and I don't know why we did not think of it before. The second is that I have archived all the 2004 messages to a separate file, so that the current message fil, from January 1, 2005, loads a little faster. There are links to the older messages on the main Guestbook page. Jeff.
I am trying to find the address or e mail address of Martin Alan Walker my pen pal in 1963. In 1963, he was 16 and attend the Harrow County School
Just to update the years and wish all Old Gaytonians Season's Greetings.
A very Happy Xmas to all and a Happy new Year.Still surviving with 80 turns on the coil.!!!!Special thanks to Alex for all his efforts which I know everyone will agree. 73 de Des G0JCF aka G1DES
Can I wish all Gaytonians (especially those I know or who have visited or contrbuted to the archives and magazine), a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Here's to a very happy one for all in 2006!
Bill Harrison is right about the Colonels daughters. I remember being in the advanced party for one camp somewhere on the South Coast and both Marilyn and Carolyn were present. They must be about the same age as me ( 61) as I remember on a later occasion being in their house one Saturday night watching TW3. I vaguely remember going out in a rowing boat with them and I think M.A.Wilson was rowing.
This site that you have created is an extraordinary feat and I offer you my warmest congratulations on it. To find the names and photos of all my long-lost pals and even an article I wrote in Enquiry in 1967 (which is also lurking somewhere in my cellar - I must seek it out) is just wonderful. I am saddened to see that one of my classmates, Chris Elvin, died recently and interested to read John Clayton's obituary. If you know where John is please do pass on my best wishes and email address. Happy Christmas. 20.12.2005
Whatever the event can have been that drew 'Koo Stark's' mother to the school, there must surely be a record in the archives. There are sufficient clues to tighten the time and place to very narrow limits. I remember your huts Phil. We used to feel it to be very infra dig that we should be required to use them for 6 th form maths classes on Friday afternoons while you were presumably being exposed to the wonders of science under the tutelag of messers Thorne and Bigham. You would have been lucky during that cold winter of 46/7 as the huts had their own heating system. In the main building, the furnace gave up completely and the ink froze in the pots. We carried on differentiating using the fountain pens received as gifts upon passing School Certificate.
Additional information: Photograph 3C 1959 Names - Middle row on left second X, the scout is John Reeves. Back row next to Lando is, Geoff or Jeff Lent. Hope this helps.
The lady in the 10/10/2005 entry will remain as Koo Stark's mother until proven otherwise. It's taken me half-a-dozen looks to even find the US flag, just between the Mayor of Harrow and "Lady X", and then there are some people in the background; this must have happened on a weekend for so few Old Gayts to be able to time and place the incident. That was MY old 2A hut in the background, and why was I not invited? That hut brings back memories of the best and worst of the staff, and the best of all the old gang who inhabited the thing during the cold winter of 1946/47. I know Dr ARS entered the hut a few times along with Bill Duke, Hubie Lane, lots of others and of course, Eggy Webb. Bigham never entered; we had to go and visit him. Same for George Thorn. The solution might be to identify the Mayor of Harrow, and tie him down to the year(s). Possibly the lady is Sarah Vaughan who made a lot of recordings in London around the early fifties. She must have been SOMEBODY for that big a bouquet of flowers and get a smile out our headmaster. Another clue...why wasn't Bigham wearing his fanciest uniform?
In answer to Richard Myers query, according to the School Silver Jubilee book, In 1932 Rev. Edgar Stogdon, M.A. was Vicar of Harrow, Chairman of the Governing Body and formerly Assistant Master at Harrow School.
18408 STOGDON E REV MASTER 1903. (Rev. Edgar Stogdon, Asst. Master, Harrow 1903-08, Rural Dean of Harrow from 1924) - Crockford's. He also played cricket for Cambridge. It would certainly be St Mary's as the Parish referred to is Harrow. St John's is, as one would expect, The Parish Church of Greenhill.
I'd love to know how Phil Chesterman knew the picture was of Koo Stark's mother......I can find no useful picture of her on the Web. I'm not suggesting in any way that he is wrong: I'm just interested, as a naturally curious person (The One who Found the Simpson Dunfermline Pictures), how he comes to know this.
On the photo of Bigham, ARS etc.. Koo Stark was a minor celeb famous (notorious?) for a relationship with Prince Andrew. Some details of her and her mother are in WIKIPEDIA. I strongly suspect the young girl with Bigham is his daughter. I remember her turning up at some annual camps with the CCF to help her mother with cooking etc. and she would have been in her late teens / early twenties in the early 1960s.
Looking over the entries for the last few monts, it is good to see that some people I knew still look at this site. I was at the school from 1978 to 1982 and remember Hans Stuart and Chris Atkinson from my scouting days. It's a bit saddening to see the conflict between the old and the new regime, but I guess the bottom line is that education has moved on and those of us who look back at when we were at school over 20 years ago cannot help looking back on a "golden age". I guess the school will never return to the way we would have liked it to continue. It now has a new identity and really, apart from the location, probably has no real link to the Old Harrow County, or even Gayton.
Apologies, EDGAR Stogdon
The Rev Eric Stogdon, who died in 1951, was almost certainly a member of the clergy at St Mary's Parish Church on "the hill" rather than St John's Parish Church, Greenhill
Laurence, things aren't what they used to be but, then, they never have been and they never will. I joined the largest attendance for the Remembrance Day ceremony since its reintroduction and was impressed by the courtesy and friendliness of all the pupils (sorry, students) I met. Returning alone a couple of weeks later I encountered two or three more who behaved equally well. Things are improving and changing (again) and next year there will be a VIth form which will help restore the School to the sort of community we knew. I, too, look forward to more contributions from former pupils of GHS and HHS. As for your last sentence, the thought comes to mind of a pot calling a kettle black before it has even been put on the fire.
Today l have urgently beeen given a job by Christine Lenihan. I have had to assemble as much information as l could about Sue and John Cavanagh for a scrap book. Your website has been very valuable.
You're given half a crown. You're straight into Soper's sweet counter. You buy 34 black jacks (four a penny), 19 fruit salads (same price), 3 chocolate tools (tuppence each), a jamboree bag (ninepence), one sherbet dib-dab (thruppence), 20 candy fags (eightpence a pack). And do you know, you've still got enough left to take your girlfriend to the Harrow Granada and then get a 183 home? Pah! The kids of today.
Having read, but not participated in this forum for some while, may I return to my theme of 'old school' v 'new school'. I have yet to see/read any positive news about the new school, all the contributions are rightly about the character and ethos of the old school. Many of the most interesting remarks have centred on the close-knit community, that was HCS. Perhaps current recent pupils might care to indicate where and what they are doing since leaving school. Diatribes from the new school acolytes are expected, but not considered constructive.
I've just discovered that I was baptised by Rev. Edgar Stogdon in 1932 who was chairman of the board of governers. The certificate states that the ceremony took place in Harrow Parish Church on Easter Day. Does anyone know which of the many churches in Harrow that might have been? Regards Richard (aka Newton Richard Huntley Myers 2D 1943 entry.) Now resident in Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Who is Koo Stark from the below mentioned photograph?
Regarding last week's notice from Richard Bunt: The Don Kincaid CD is well worth the purchase on its own musical merits, quite apart from the nostalgic "That man taught me French" element, and deserves a wide circulation. Although the recording is 40 years old the sound quality is superb and it is only dated by the polite applause (no doubt considered enthusiastic in its time) from the adolescent audience, especially given the adult content of some of the tracks! Well done and thank you to the enterprising Old Gayts who resurrected the original tape.
That 10/10/2005 photo with Dr ARS, Stan Greene and the Big Ham, is Koo Stark's mother. Hence the US flag.
Note Regarding the Don Kincaid CD...... My post sent in mid October refers. The current position is that everyone who has ordered a DON KINCAID REPRISED CD has now had their CD posted to them. We currently have a few CD's left and would welcome orders for these. See the front page of this web site for details and the order form. Richard Bunt
Hello, This is a brilliant site - so many memories! I am Reg Goff's daughter and have various photos - some formal such as award presentations & tiers of boys on the steps at the front door and some less formal such as mud covered teenagers on an assault course and inevitably of the naval cadets. Only dated photo: 1960-61 Arts and Modern VI; A few of the other photos have names on the back. do you want them? Best wishes Ann
Just thought it was time I had a look at the website. I didn't realise that there were 12 photos of either my brother or myself on it, nor the size of the site. Keep up the good work.
i wish i was a gayton..
Hmm, after seeing all those 4th Harrow Scout Group (not Troop BTW) photos without names, I suppose I'd better get to it and supply some. I'm obviously one of the few left who could actually put correct names to the Norman twins! I still see little activity on the part of the Class of '48 ... must have been a bad year for achieving greatness in later life ... nothing worth reporting I suppose. My main claim to fame was that Square stopped me in the corridor and actually addressed me by name - I knew then it was time to go! In case anyone who sees this remembers me, I am still involved with Scouting on a Local(Cambridgeshire) and National basis - some things never change. Chris A.
HCS 1947 - 52 I have spend many happy sessions at this site and endured many long waits while pictures opened in the hope of seeing old friends. In the entry year roll for 1947, Shearer's name is Douglas. I see that another good friend Robin Joseph became a Professor of Chemistry. He was the image of a professor when I first knew him at Longfield Primary School! We formed an important part of the CCF Corps of Drums in the year that we annoyed a resident neighbour enough for her to refer to us in a letter to the head as 'that 3rd rate tinpot band'!!
The hit-counter on the front page of this website was started exactly five years ago, on 14th November 2000. There have been about 194,000 hits, so we have just under 40,000 a year.
Alex Hirschfield ("Hashfield", to be precise, if Martin Bouskilla's suspicions were correct) arrived at Harrow County with Bill Bidder, whose credentials may be found at http://www.campbellhooper.com/people/index.asp?pageid=2&person_id=78. And jolly youthful he looks! Michael.
Alex "Hirsch" Hirschfield is professor of criminology at Huddersfield. The URL below may be clickable: http://www.hud.ac.uk/hhs/dbs/acg/staff/ah.htm
Re the swimming pool. Brings back fond memories - it was where I learnt to swim in my first year. Used to be good fun going in there. Also inspaires anotehr Gerry Lafferty memory. I turned up at school on the Saturday to score for the school 2nd XI - and it was very hot. You had to be supervised in the pool - but Gerry was there - I think with the family - so i had a swim before and after the game - great.
Regarding the swimming pool. When I was first at the school (1980) the pool was only for use by the upper year. By the time I reached the upper year (1983-84 it was out of bounds to all because of a large crack in the base. It was not a lovely tiled pool as you might find now but concrete lined. The only use I saw it put to was a cadet 'emergency dinghy drill' one cadet review day about 1981. It slowly got muddier and muddier until the early 1990s, when a former pupil decided to set fire to the wooden changing rooms because he had a grudge against the then Head (it was widely reported in the local press at the time). The fire also spread to the next door Drama block (terrapin Hut) reducing both, basically, to a pile of ashes. That was that and the pool finally was filled in and fenced off in the mid 1990s (exact year unknown). It remained like that until work on the new sports block was started in the late 1990s.
Hi, great site. I was wondering if you could tell me what year did the swimming pool close? Thanks
I apologise if I seem to be making light of such a sad event, but just to say also that Dave Scott (ref. Jeff's notice) was the other of the 2 Chelsea DJs.
Nerdily, I just have to come in there. I have many Chelsea programmes from the late 60s in which Pete [sic] Owen is one of the two columnsters. He not only spins the 45s; he also does the voiceovers at a cavernous Stamford Bridge as Bobby Tambling and Peter Bonetti run to the Shed. "I say a little Prayer" by Aretha Franklin, and "Jesamine" by The Casuals" were picked by him as hits. I never realised this was he.
My memory fails me a lot these days but didnt Peter Owen act as DJ at Chelsea FC in late 60's
I'd also agree that Terry Andrews was a very popular teacher. It was amazing how often he could get references to Watford FC into his maths lessons - and I'm sure he saw our end of term exams as a challenge to get references to the entire team into the questions.
For soccer mad boys, despite the obvious ways of distracting him with comments about the previous Saturday's game, getting to talk about football during maths made the lesson far more interesting & I'm sure we learnt more - what a clever teacher !!
For your information, if you do a Google search on Terry Andrews there is a reference to a Terry Andrews who is head of Maths at Bassingbourn Village College.
Finally - who can forget some of Garth Ratcliffe's classic poetry ?
Horace Pig danced a jig
No he didn't
Yes he did
....who needs him to teach economics when he could 'write' poetry like that !!!!
That poem (which was piblished in the Gaytonian) has stuck in my memory for over 20 years - sad really isn't it ??
Sadly, I have been informed by David Scott of sudden passing of Peter Owen, aged 64, on Monday 31st October 2005. Peter was at HCS from 1953 to 1959 and will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Most recently Peter was Station Manager at West Suffolk Hospital Radio, in Bury St. Edmunds.
Peter's funeral will be on Thursday 10th November at Great Barton, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Donations should be sent to West Suffolk Hospital Radio.
Re your comments about Garth Ratcliffe and Terry Andrews. As far as I know it was all good natured banter. For those of you who did not know these teachers, Garth taught (?) but was about 6ft 3in, while Terry taught maths and was an ardent Watford fan and about 5ft tall. More than once 'Large' would end up getting the better of 'Little', in the previously mentioned headlock or other, to the great amusement of all in the room.
A couple of other stories. With Terry supporting Watford FC, it would not be long before someone (in a double maths period on a Monday)mentioned the game the previous Saturday, knowing that if Watford had won, half of the lesson would be taken up discussing the game. If they had lost the question was answered with a good natured 'get back to your work', again to the amusement of all. I have been told by a certain member of staff that one day after school had finished, she walked into one corridor only to find Garth at one end with a fire extinguisher, and (I think) Kevin Mahon equally equipped at the other end, with Terry stuck in the middle. Said teacher bid a hasty retreat!
Terry got his own back during the 1983 'Dramathon' (a 72 hour non-stop drama marathon). The sketch involved Terry with the lovely Miss Duke (no relation to Bill Duke) in a restaurant, with Garth the hapless waiter. The end was Terry winning the day, I think by giving Garth a slap or two around the head a la Basil Fawlty/Manuel.
On a last point, Terry was also known for his kipper ties, wing collars (or is that winged collars?) and brown pin striped suits, topeed off with shoulder length hair. On our last day, a friend of mine walked into the lesson with such a jacket, shirt and tie, and 'Mr Andrews' name badge. 'Hey, hey, hey, come here...' said Terry, '...yes very funny. I do like that tie though'. It is fair to say that he was one of the better and more popular teachers of the day. He still lives in the Watford area I believe and left Gayton to go to a girls school that way, or Watford Grammar, somewhere like that. I heard about a year ago that very sadly, he llost his wife/partner through illness.
Dave, isn't it about time you joined the OG's? !
A passing thought - although I know my Dad was an OG, and proud of having been to the school - he had the cap and striped blazer when I was a kid, I have been unable to find out exactly when he attended the school. Born in Oct 1909, I suspect he must have entered about 1920 and left 1924 or 1925 - I do know his Father died when he was 16 and he had to go out to work - I have found the record in the London Gazette of his having beeen taken on by the GPO as a telegraphist. I just wonder if there are any silver surfing OGs still arround who could give me a definite date for Dad starting at HCSB Ian Gawn
Regrettably, as the 11 November is a Friday this year I will be in my usual place in Lymington High Street just after 1100 doing my 2 hour stint selling poppies. Consequently I cannot be at the Remembrance Day commemoration at School. However at 1100 I will be presiding over the Royal Lymington Yacht Club's annual Act of Remembrance, and my thoughts will also be with those Old Gaytonians who made the supreme sacrifice. "We will remember them" Ian Gawn
Alumni, like myself, of the original Harrow County School for Boys, are apt to do a double-take (as practised most famously by James Finlayson in myriad Laurel & Hardy two-reelers) when we see a reference on this website to 'Harrow High School'. For the whole of the time I was at HCS, Harrow High School was a private educational establishment for boys, located on the opposite corner of Gayton and Sheepcote Roads. Its pupils wore navy blue blazers and 'segmented' yellow and navy blue caps. The headmaster - and proprietor - of that earlier HHS was at that time a man called Thompson, who was notable for his collection of large vintage cars. Kept in a garage on the school premises - even though Thompson himself lived at Henley-on-Thames - they included, I remember, a Rolls-Royce, a Sunbeam and a magnificent Hispano-Suiza, a marque which, despite its Spanish sounding name, originated in France. Thompson's wife, who I think was called Florence, was the headmistress (and presumably, with her husband, the owner) of Peterborough & St Margaret's private school for girls (and kindergarten boys), situated 200 yards or so down Sheepcote Road. Though the private HHS passed into oblivion, P&StM's school surprisingly still exists. In about 1980 its site, like most of those on the eastern side of Sheepcote Road, was sold for development and it moved to a more rural setting close to The Alpine, Bushey Heath.
Alex, A question for you really - can you shed any light on the 'feud' between Garth Ratcliffe (Economics Teacher) & Terry Andrews (Maths teacher)? I seem to remember Garth Ratcliffe arriving in a maths lessons once & placing Terry Andrews in a head lock - left him there for about 30 seconds & then just left. It can't just have been that Terry Andrews Supported Watford - surely? Or was it all for show?
Further to the references to Ross Salmon - Guestbook entries passim - I recall an HCS occasion, probably in 1951 or 52, when us boys had to make our way to Hamilton's Brushworks sports ground in Elmgrove Road, Harrow, the site today of a grotty industrial estate. There we were treated to a demonstration by Salmon of his South American cowboy skills: lassoing (that's a funny word but I don't see how else it can be spelt) from his position in the saddle of a rather splendid white (I think) horse.
Remembrance Day this year is on NOVEMBER 11TH at the school. All are welcome. Please be at school for 10.15 - 10.30 where you will be shown into the library (Old Hall). You will be able to park around the front.
The Old Gaytonians Association service is around the foot of the stairs and war memorial, followed by the school service. There is an informal lunch afterwards in the bar of a nearby hotel, which all are welcome to attend, no need to book. Any further questions, contact Alex Bateman.
Television viewers in the United States will be able to see two documentaries by Old Gaytonian Don Farrow this Friday night on the History Channel: "Lost Worlds" and "Strange Behavior" in the History's Mysteries series at 8 and 9 pm.
In my haste to apologise about misidentifying Webber as Birch on the photograph of the school group in Switzerland, I missed adding my name. Woops, sorry again!
On further consideration of the photogrpah of the school group in Switzerland, I believe it to be a Mr Webber and not Mr. Birch who is portrayed sitting next to Mr. Webb. Webber taught physics for a while. I don't believe we have a photograph of Birch.
I note that my only claim to fame although not acknowleged in the school records ie 1952-53 captain of the Cross Country team is credited in the 1952-53 Who's who in the school, even if I am A.Youdale in it. Tony Youdale
Roland Birch is referenced in the memoirs of Arthur Dunkley (1935/40) and Bernard (?) Gillespie (1940s) - scroll down the front page till you find these. Nothing jumps out of any Google pages.
Hamish, there is an excellent group photograph in the photograph section of this site (click here) that shows the illustrious Mr. Birch. He is shown seated with the group of boys and masters (both H.W.Webb and A. Amos are identified, but not Birch) that made a trip to Germany and Switzerland in 1939. Here they are shown posed in front of the Schweizerhof hotel in Brunnen, Switzerland. Neither the locality or Birch is identified, but that's him! I recall him from my days at the school in 1940. That was before he left. I believe he was either imprisoned or interned for his inappropriate politic activities. I've seen these described someone on this site but do not recall where.
Can any one please direct me to the site where I understand there is a brief write-up and photograph of former language master, Roland J. Birch? The time period would be late thirties early forties. Very many thanks, Hamish Drummond
I was at HCS from January 1954 (having moved from Liverpool the previous month due to my father's employment)until July 1957. I was in Form 2D, then 3D, 4D, and finally V(3). Greetings to any former classmates who may be reading this.
It's "amongst US spelling fascists", Ian. But full allowance made, as requested, in view of your current euphoric state. Congratulations!
For those who were taught English by Jim Golland, please see the article in today's Times about the poor standard of delivery of the spoken word, especially in news programmes on TV. A lively debate is developing amongst we spelling fascists (as I am known at work and by my sons). If my spelling and syntax are not too good tonight, it is because No2 son, now 32 and recently married to a stunning Danish girl, has just given me the opportunity to announce that "We are to be a grandfather" Ian Gawn
NOTE REGARDING THE DON KINCAID CD As one of the three involved in the production of this CD I just wanted to give an update on progress to date. Sim Hill has digitally re-mastered the original recording and prepared the master CD and sleeve notes etc. Edward Kerr is handling the moneys and so on. I,Richard Bunt, am taking the orders,handling enquiries and will despatch all orders. Currently we are waiting to go into production but we are matching orders against CD's made as these are quite expensive to produce and we only want to do the job once. So this is a gentle chase up to those who have pre-ordered and not yet sent their cheques to please post it off, and to those who have please note we have not forgotton you and to anyone who might like to order one please see the link from the front page of this site. I have to say that having listened to these recordings anyone who was at the school in the 60's and who knew Don,will find this to be an enjoyable trip into nostalgia land. Richard Bunt
Sadly my father ARNOLD GEORGE NYBURG, DSC, RNVR died on the 3rd September aged 96. He was always proud of his old school, and was a first 15 rugby player, and Victor Ludorum.
I've had a couple of e-mails recently asking about Harry Mees so I went round this morning to see how he is. I just missed him but spoke to him on the 'phone this evening.
I am delighted to say he sounded extremely chipper and at last appears to be recovering from his fall last year. He's even taken to following an OU course on Shakespeare!
I'm sure he'd love to hear from any of his old pupils or stage hands. Jeff, Alex, Pete Vincent and I have his address. Alternatively, if you would like to write to him c/o Kate's Cottage, Ampney Crucis, Cirencester GL7 5SD, I will pass your letter on.
If there are any OGs within reasonable distance of Cirencester, perhaps we could entertain him to lunch or dinner one day? Please let me know.
Old Gaytonian 2005 is out. This is our magazine, with 64 fun-packed and
nostalgic pages edited by Alex Bateman. Catch up with the activities of
old friends. Read Don Wilkey's tales from behind the staff-room door.
Name the ten Old Gaytonian Knights. Read about Peter Arnold's trip to
Montana, the three Venning brothers who attended HCS before the First World War,
and the West London Rugby Club's fundraiser for Tsunami Victims. Read about the
Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash of 1952 and about the class of 1954 reunion.
Get up to date with the 4th Harrow Scouts and about all those former Gayton High
School boys who have made their mark in professional football. And much
If you don't have a copy, you are not a member - and it is about time you joined - we need you. For ten pounds a year you get your magazine, a newsletter, various reunions and you help to support the School Archives which provide material for this website. So click here to join now and get your copy of the magazine!
Michael, your comments in this guestbook have, I think, always been ‘good value, and I always look forward to seeing them. I liked your comments on my posting of 23rd September. They reminded me of a Middle-Eastern saying I once came across which goes something like ‘When a pickpocket sees a Saint he only sees his pockets’. I was trying to perhaps introduce an alternative, more mystical, viewpoint on ‘Jerusalem’ together with trying to say something of a thankyou to Gerry Lafferty from someone singularly unsuccessful at English. You managed, however, to immediately pick up that I had suffered from an outbreak of Greek. Michael, you restore my faith in proverbs (‘arf ‘arry’s toe). With your indulgence, I will email you directly regarding my ‘owning up’, thanks.
I have not had chance to visit the site recently, so I was very sad to see the news about Gerry Lafferty. I am currently a teacher of biology (the Colonel is probably now turning in his grave!). I would not have been able to get into this profession if it hadn’t been for Gerry. He rescued a poor underachiever in 2d then 3c and enabled me to go on to achieve a GCE ‘O’ level in English language. Without that I would never have been able to qualify as a teacher. I remember the interpretation of Blake’s Jerusalem, and his ability to get me reading and enjoying it. I always have something to read with me and I have a huge collection of books now. So much so that I plan to buy a property in the future with a room I can turn into my own library. So all I can say now is many thanks Gerry you will be greatly missed. I only hope I can become half the teacher you were – then I’ll be a good teacher.
For Michael Shwartz: I'm innocent on this one! My years were 56/63 in any case.
I think it's too late to put NOSPAM in my e-mail address but, as Jeff says, it's not much trouble deleting spam in one's Inbox. And I might not have received the following:- FROM Purity Abed Abidjan Cote D` Ivoire West Africa. Email:(email@example.com) Dearest One, I am Mrs Purity Abed the first wife of king George Abed K.S.M the king of mende tribe in Sierra-Leone. On the 19th May, 2000 my husband was murdered by some rebel group on the accusation that he is a great sponsor and in support to restore the democratically elected President of Alhadji Tejan Kabba. Almost half of the palace was burnt. Fortunately I was not in the place when they raided the palace, my husband married 4 wives with 16 children, three of the wives with my three children and others where murdered in cold blood while my second son escape the incident with bullet wounds on his right leg. . . etc. One wonders how she came by three of the 16 children were hers, given her name.
Dear George Walker Bush I am already contributing to your 'Emerging Market (Iraq) Fund' through my appointed investment manager, Mr Tony Blair, who heads up one of the big four international investment funds (UK Plc). However, as an ethical investor, I am not happy with the projects that my contributions are financing and I intend switching in the future to a fund with a conscience. I suspect that other fund holders, particularly in New Orleans, may have similar concerns about how their contributions are being invested. P.S. You're a cretin.
REMEMBRANCE DAY AT THE SCHOOL - NOVEMBER 11TH 2005 The annual school Remembrance Day service will again be held at the school on Friday November 11th 2005. All old boys are welcome to attend, and to join the informal lunch party that retire afterwards to a local hotel bar/restaurant. The service is very different from the school days, with the OGs having their own service at the foot of the main stairs at 11.00. There will be displays in the library and we are also invited to join the school for their service. Any Old Boys wishing to attend, can come into the school 10.15 to 10.30, where they will be directed to the library. There is no need for prior notice or booking.
(I did not write this - it has been circulating....)
FROM: GEORGE WALKER BUSH
DEAR SIR / MADAM,
I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.
I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY FATHER, WHO HAS LONG BEEN ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE EXTRACTION OF PETROLEUM IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND BRAVELY SERVED HIS COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.
IN THE DECADE OF THE NINETEEN-EIGHTIES, MY FATHER, THEN VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ TO REGAIN LOST OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. THIS UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURE WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY A FALLING OUT WITH HIS IRAQI PARTNER, WHO SOUGHT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING EMIRATE OF KUWAIT, A WHOLLY-OWNED U.S.-BRITISH SUBSIDIARY.
MY FATHER RE-SECURED THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF KUWAIT IN 1991 AT A COST OF SIXTY-ONE BILLION U.S. DOLLARS ($61,000,000,000). OUT OF THAT COST.
THIRTY-SIX BILLION DOLLARS ($36,000,000,000) WERE SUPPLIED BY HIS PARTNERS IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHER PERSIAN GULF MONARCHIES, AND SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS ($16,000,000,000) BY GERMAN AND JAPANESE PARTNERS.
BUT MY FATHER'S FORMER IRAQI BUSINESS PARTNER REMAINED IN CONTROL OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ITS PETROLEUM RESERVES.
MY FAMILY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN FUNDING THE REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ACQUIRING THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF HIS COUNTRY, AS COMPENSATION FOR THE COSTS OF REMOVING HIM FROM POWER.
UNFORTUNATELY, OUR PARTNERS FROM 1991 ARE NOT WILLING TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF THIS NEW VENTURE, WHICH IN ITS UPCOMING PHASE MAY COST THE SUM OF 100 BILLION TO 200 BILLION DOLLARS ($100,000,000,000 - $200,000,000,000), BOTH IN THE INITIAL ACQUISITION AND IN LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT.
WITHOUT THE FUNDS FROM OUR 1991 PARTNERS, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE THE OIL REVENUE TRAPPED WITHIN IRAQ. THAT IS WHY MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES ARE URGENTLY SEEKING YOUR GRACIOUS ASSISTANCE. OUR DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES IN THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION INCLUDE THE SITTING VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RICHARD CHENEY, WHO IS AN ORIGINAL PARTNER IN THE IRAQ VENTURE AND FORMER HEAD OF THE ALLIBURTON OIL COMPANY, AND CONDOLEEZA RICE, WHOSE PROFESSIONAL DEDICATION TO THE VENTURE WAS DEMONSTRATED IN THE NAMING OF A CHEVRON OIL TANKER AFTER HER.
I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO TRANSFER A SUM EQUALING TEN TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT (10-25 %) OF YOUR YEARLY INCOME TO OUR ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT VENTURE. THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL FUNCTION AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MAKE THIS TRANSFER BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) OF THE MONTH OF APRIL.
I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE AND WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY. A BOLD STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED, I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE INFORMED THAT THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO CO-OPERATE IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR INTERMEDIARY REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER DISCUSS THE MATTER.
I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT. MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO THE CONTACT NUMBERS BELOW.
SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS,
GEORGE WALKER BUSH
Switchboard: 202.456.1414 Comments: 202.456.1111 Fax: 202.456.2461 Email:
Brian The best comment I have seen on the nigerian e-mail scam was a recent Dilbert calendar. Ratbert has had a mail asking for his bank details - to which he responds 'My bank is a sock down the back of the sofa'. Absolute classic. Steve
On 23 September someone signed in as 65-72 and declared that English, French, Latin and Greek were his "four horsemen of the apocalypse." As someone whose own dates were 65-72 I am most intrigued to find out his identity. To have done Greek limits him to about 35 boys, and I assume he is not one of the fifteen who kept up their Greek in the third form. So come on, own up - it can't be Peter Fowler winding me up again! Michael.
David Stokes has stumbled on what has become a major cottage industry not just in West Africa but now elsewhere. I receive letters supposedly from British banks asking me to confirm my account number for audit purposes. The police in various countries have people trying to stop the 'trade' and I understand this has been successful in Nigeria which is where the business was dreamed up. Someone put me onto a web site run by a man who makes a hobby out of replying but never giving the right information. The results are amusing. The only example I've heard of where someone actually sent money was a partnership of young lawyers in Brisbane who used money from the inactive 'trust' account of a client. To their misfortune, the client showed up to demand his money before the expected 'payout'. The local law society was not amused.
Disaster - I have had a major PC crash and lost my address book. Friends from 1955-62 please send me an e-mail so I can rebuild my address book (I'll back it up this time). Also (Bob or Derek) Gill (Morris) White's e-mail as well please. Will try to get to the Remembrance Service and lunch this year Cheers Ian
Well, well well. I should have read some of the emails concerning spam. Only a few hours have passed since my last contribution and who do I hear from? Only my old friend the Rev.Barrister Kilome Omoh, Senior Advocate of Togo; Kilome and Associates, with the usual nonsense. Dear old Kilome, such a wit, such a joker. He fails to mention which years he spent at HCS. Nevertheless he is clearly demonstrating some of the skills he picked up there whilst not quite reaching the highest levels of academic success. If Oxbridge did not appeal then international fraud was an obvious alternative. How glad I am that I only opened this account today so that I can close it tomorrow. They really are out there. Or are they? Does such a person exist or is it some piece of electronic wizardry operated by a man in Penge? Is there really a man called Kilome Omoh who expects someone to buy his ludicrous story? If he does exist has anyone actually sent him money? I suppose if they have his enterprise is to be applauded. He must be some part of a food chain. No doubt the Universe has a place for him too.
(Note - I have changed David's address above, so that it cannot be automatically harvested for spam. When you post to the website, please leave an address, so that others can find you. But alter it so that Rev. Barrister Omoh etc. cannot harvest it for spam. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org becomes nameREMOVENOSPAM@yahoo.com or name AT yahoo.com. Or, you can just be amused by the rather puerile spam and delete it. Jeff [editor])
This is a message for Richard Hayward who was at the school between 1953 and 1959 and who lived in a bungalow in Rayners Lane. I notice that you are registered with Friends Reunited. I have tried to contact you before without success. Please get in touch so we can bore each other with a recital of the last 40 years.
Hi Colin, Yes I do remember you, although it is a long time ago, and also some of the fund raising events that you organised. I am sending all the 'memorabilia" that I have, directly to Jeff as there is too much to scan. I know a lot of the things that my Father collected over the years was given back to the OGA (via Erik Cornes I believe) for the Diamond Jubilee in 1971 and should still be in their posession.
Well,hello Steve! Nice to see your contribution. I remember you - though you may not remember me - and your father. He was a very successful captain of the Rugby club and also a somewhat reluctant Chairman of the OGA for a time. (He took it on when pressed on someone else's retirement and accepted the duty as a loyal Old Gayt.) He was Chairman when I was first drafted onto the Committee in 1975 as fundraiser for the new clubhouse. I look forward to seeing your memorabilia.
I have now been living overseas for the last 28 years (New York and now S. Florida for the past 11 years) and would love to hear from any of my old buddies from school (1966-1972) or the Old Gayt's RFC. My Father was also an Old Boy, Stan Green. I have lots of pictures and artilcles that I will endevour to scan and forward.
Congratulations Jeff on the popularity of the website. Over 100 hits per day on average for so long is very commendable.
Just to record - the Gaytonian website was five years old yesterday and has averaged about 38,000 hits on the home page each year.
Regarding interpretations of Blake’s Jerusalem, the sexual interpretation may not have been, shall we say, the primary one. Consider the line ‘O clouds unfold, bring me my chariot of fire.’ There is, I believe a watercolour by Blake (Whitworth Gallery in Manchester?) showing rolled back clouds and revealing much light, a sun and a figure. This water colour was entitled something like ‘the ancient of days’. Additionally, I have heard it asserted that Blake was in his time the chosen chief of a mystical order which is, apparently, still extant. Blake, often described as a visionary, may have been describing, or embellishing, personal experiences, perhaps analogous to the ‘light and tunnel’ descriptions given in near death experiences. (Cf St Paul’s ‘die before you die’, Apuleius’ ‘sun at midnight’ etc). I seem to remember reading, in the guest book, of one ‘Old Boy’ who was described as a Hindu priest. Perhaps he could help out here, coming from a tradition more given to meditation etc than the common western experience. Regarding Gerry Lafferty, he was for me the best of Harrow County. He seemed determined to find and develop the ‘Worth’ within a pupil. Personally, he conveyed to me that he saw me a being of value and not just another ‘brick in the hod’. Linguistically ‘challenged’, shall we say (I was subsequently diagnosed as dyslexic), for me the four horsemen of the apocalypse were English, French, Latin and Greek. Yet with English he somehow transformed the unbearable into the interesting and even enjoyable and gave me the impetus for struggle for literacy (I scraped English Language O-Level on the third attempt). He always encouraged and never rebuked, even if I would pick my pool reader on the basis of which book had the fewest pages (I never did get to Henry James). Gerry was to me a man of great humour and openness, always prepared to seriously listen and to reconsider his own views, if necessary. How few I have found subsequently that I could say the same for. Thank you Gerry.
erstwhile friend Ian Cobden has a better memory than I of the goings on in the
English classes we shared in 1967 (although I DO remember GL's exhortation to
"always have a paperback in your blazer pockets and to read whenever you
have a spare moment". Hans Stuart is not the only one to have taken
this to heart - I too have GL to thank for a lifetime enjoyment of reading).
But are we so sure that 'Jerusalem' is founding so much on a myth? Or was Blake outling his belief (in the first verse of his poem at least) in the evidence which points towards Jesus visiting Britain during his life? Are the "dark satanic mills" not the tin mines of the southwest of England which Jesus' guardian and great uncle Joseph of Arimathea is likely to have visited?
Verbally juxtaposing Britain and Jerusalem, and the 'Jesus in Britain' theory seem to be fairly common Blake themes: "Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion! Can it be? Is it a Truth that the Learned have explored? Was Britain the Primitive Seat of the Patriarchal Religion?"
Get in touch if you remember me!!
Looking as I do from time at the correspondence on the site, I see some reference to the accent and voice of AR Simpson, late headmaster of HCS and worthy successor to the workhouse master of old. One of my favourite memories of ARS was when he decided to instruct Upper 6th Modern in the beauties of English poetry. He picked Eliot's Gerontion and went through it word by word and syllable by syllable. A particular phrase I recall, although I can't find it in the poem, was "A spot". Given his particular Scottish accent his rendering of this phase gave intense amusement to the listening 17 to 18 year olds. The phrase came across as a Victorian bed chamber utensil which modesty prevents me from mentioning - good example of his particular accent!
I agree with Ian Cobden's suggestion that "Land of Hope and Glory" be adopted as a replacement of the National Anthem, read 'dirge'. In my experience, whenever a few Brits get together over a few beers anywhere in the world they get nostalgic for the old turf and eventually will Elgar's song. To make it the anthem would be the ultimate irony as no High School graduation ceremony in the U.S. is complete without the tune (but never the words) being played.
Many thanks for the replies to my recent query about Jerusalem. It seems that after all these years a query that I have had has now been solved. Although I still think that interpretation is in the "eye of the beholder" PS My vote for a different National Anthem is Land of Hope and Glory, please don't tell me that is really about Ruritania (geddit)!!
The anonymous reply was from me.
The reason for interpreting Jerusalem in the way suggested is that this sort of reading fits in with clues in other writing by Blake. It isn't pseud, but there are other possible ways of reading Blake- letting each poem stand on its own, for example. Then we couldn't tell (and wouldn't need to know) whether Blake meant factories when he talked of the satanic mills; all that would matter would be what we thought of.
There is one other problem with the poem which I remember Gerry pointing out in a recitation once And did those feet in ancient time/ Walk upon England's pastures green? NO And was the countenance divine/ On England's pleasantthingies seen? NO In other words, can you found so much on a myth?
Which is precisely why 'Jerusalem' would be a wonderful National Anthem....strikes me as an uplifting vision, strikes me as rooted in English imagery - and aren't we supposed to be the masters of irony? I thought it was 'irony' that personified one of the essential traits of 'Englishness'.
'Jerusalem' not only provides a healthy rejoinder to the anachronism of the National Anthem - it also, with its great and stirring tune complementing its passionate words, gives us something that finally knocks out the French and the Germans, both of whom have anthems considerably more arousing than ours.
'Jerusalem' is the most misinterpreted poem on record. Gerry's comments to you have been echoed by Peter Ackroyd in his book on Blake published in 1995. He said that worthy women at political party conferences had no idea what they were singing about at the end of their conferences. Like Gerry he enjoyed the irony. All the background to Blake is in this book. Very basically, Blake believed fervently in sexual liberation as a necessary condition of human freedom--later echoed in 'Sons and Lovers' and 'Look Back in Anger'to name but two. Blake believed in Swedenborg's ideas to some extent and he joined the 'Shoreham Ancients' and their New Age beliefs --in some ways still reflected in modern movements and pop songs today. His vision for humanity was 'the rebuilding of Jerusalem on earth, in the uniting of the physical and spiritual sides of human nature free of economic exploitation, with people being able to develop the full potential of their beings.' This is a very simple resume, Ian.
Gerry's comments were probably prompted by 'Jerusalem' being sung at Assembly or some equally absurdly inappropriate place.
Thanks for the (anonymous) replies to my query about Jerusalem but I did get the symbolism. I just wanted to know if that was the original intention of Blake or whether it was analysed that way by some "pseuds" afterwards.
Andy Findon's album is excellent - bought it, transferred the tracks to the Ipod, listen to it a lot!
I can only surmise that some of the contributors to this site would wish to write in green ink if the technology permitted.
And isn't there something about having one's sword in one's hand?
Nice to see the message from Ian Cobden. Yes. In Jerusalem the satanic mills are the altars of the Church of England. Mills because they grind people down and repeat the same experience all the time, satanic because they do the work of the evil one. The bow of burning gold is male sexuality, and the arrows of desire have an obvious reference. Jerusalem is the state where love is free to act out its desires. I guess you're all old enough to know this now. Best wishes to you all.
Funny how 2 seemingly unrelated events stir the memory. Watching the final test match the other day when they started singing Jerusalem, I suddenly remembered as a young 1st former Mr Lafferty (and he will always be Mr Lafferty to me because I respected him ) told us that the song was full of, and written as a series of, phallic symbols. Can anybody help? Was he telling the truth or was he just taking the "pee" out of us poor naive 1st formers?
Two things. First I must quibble with Andy Findon's self effacing description of his musical prowess. Andy, I believe you to have featured on the Home Service's "Alright Jack" album and you have, therefore, one classic under your belt (advise purchase to all readers). Must have seen you play a few times (Half Moon, Putney?) but am chuffed to learn you are ex HCBS. Secondly, I find the dates given for Mr Lafferty's teaching career, '61 to '75, a mite confusing. I was still there in 1976 and am sure I would have remembered his leaving. Can anyone clarify or am I just experiencing my first senior moments?
Old Gaytonians Cricket Club. Anyone for cricket? Perhaps it's euphoria, but wouldn't it be great to revive the section? Discuss.
Sorry to hear of Mr. Lafferty's demise. He told us to always have a paperback in our blazer pockets and to read whenever we had a spare moment. I've had a book on the go ever since.
Never did like the chilly water of the HCS pool when I arrived in 1939 entry year, but delayed to March 40. Don't much like exposing myself in public, albeit only in E-Mail. HOWEVER...... What is missing from the contributions of messers Hester and Carruthers is the factor of JUDGEMENT. By all means lets be civilised in our discussions, however this Old Gaytonian takes the view my Anglican Church is not the kindly decent Church it once was. My political Party, the Conservative Party of Canada has let me down and is currently a disaster looking to reelect the permanent ruling party, the Gliberals once again. Our schools are now operating on teaching 18 year olds what we were taught at 15. Our Teachers, the root cause of the problem, are going on strike because 40,000 Nicker (not $) a year, plus 3 months hols a year and benefits, all in a low tax, low cost environment, is not enough. They claim they are over worked at 1300 hours a year. Can't go to a movie theatre, smell of popcorn makes me.....So does the incessent chatter of morons. And now ladies and gents. The legal and medical . Our Judges and Bent Briefs let the local drug dealers out on Bail so they can continue in business and pay the lawyers and fines. Ad lib, ad nostradamus. Must finish as I am off to my lovely heated pool, then to dress, or my wife will complain I am exposing myself Thank you OGs, for the pride in my roots that you all have given to me.
"Wasn't it called Bertorellis Cafe in Station Rd?" You're probably right, Begonia (if I may). I'm not sure how I dredged up the name at all. Thanks for the correction. I was happy to hear through Gerry Lafferty's wife that he was a proponent of multiple intelligences and more evenly distributed educational opportunites. That knowledge raises him still further (posthumously) in my esteem. I'm still looking for some form of inteligence that I can claim as my own. Mick
Some of my contemporaries, (67 to 72), may be interested to know that after nearly 30 years of being a "faceless session musician", I've finally got round to recording my own album. Just released, "Andy Findon-Tracked", is available at http://www.quartzmusic.com/cd/QTZ2029.htm and hopefully in October from the major stores.
My wife was reading the Daily Mail on Saturday 27 August. She started to read out an article in the Answers to Correspondents column, noticing the words Harrow County School for Boys. In fact, she read almost the entire answer before reading the author’s name. I did not write everything in the answer and I detect the work of Mr A Bateman in supplementing it. What became of Ross Salmon, the English Cowboy, who featured on children‘s radio in the Fifties? Ross Salmon, who was born in Harrow in 1922 and attended Harrow County School for Boys between 1933 and 1939, served as an RNVR pilot in World War II. He ferried agents into enemy territory, for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross, wearing top hat and white gloves to entertain his passengers. In 1947 he became a ranch assistant in South America then ran his own ranch in Colombia until a plane crash left him with 14 major fractures. Only loyal native South Americans who carried him to the nearest Westerners saved his life. Talking about these experiences on TV’s Tall Story Club began his media career. He became TV’s “jungle cowboy” and rode horseback across Britain. He wrote a string of associated books, including Jungle Cowboy and Forbidden Jungle. Then BBC producers recognised his vast knowledge of sport and he was made BBC cricket scorer. Ross later created the International Cricket Crusaders, a charity team who enlisted the support of Sir Garfield Sobers. His other legacy was to anthropology, where his work on South America resulted in a Fellowship of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Ross Salmon died on April 14, 2004. Michael Schwartz, Buxton, Derbyshire Ross Salmon's daughter has since replied to the Daily Mail, saying that she read the notes with pride.
Well put Andrew Carruthers. The 65 th anniversary of my entry into HCS is at hand. I am quite sure that my parents would not have been encouraged to see me go to the school had they been assured that nothing had changed since 1875. What a sobering thought.
coursework element has been one dramatic change….another was the abandoning of
‘grading to the curve’, ie the dumping of the idea that only x percentage of
examinees should be A grade.
Then, more recently, has been the proliferation of new qualifications, which locks into the ‘academy’ and ‘specialist school’ initiatives. Here, the designation of, say, a specialist school in technology is supplemented by a new raft of GCSEs in subjects related to the specialism. One Head teacher I know, in Yorkshire, runs a school of this kind and was able to demonstrate, two years in, that his GCSE results had improved dramatically.
Bogus, of course.
As I said somewhere else, this is New Labour’s obsession with ticking boxes in a glut of competence-based indicators that have wonderful quantitative results but have a huge gaping chasm at their centre called ‘quality’. Because there isn’t any.
Not just New Labour, either – these approaches were taken by the last Conservative adminstration as well.
I’ll finish on an anecdote. My youngest daughter did A Level English ten years ago (and this story gives the lie to those who think this all started with, say, Blunkett). The night before her exam she asked me if I could help her with ‘Hamlet’. After spending an hour or so with her, and realising that she knew no quotes and had no depth at all to her knowledge, I got cross and told her she couldn’t possibly pass.
She got a B. What’s that: 60/70%? I know, absolutely and irrevocably, that she would have got a U in the 1960s.
of the main difference between the exams now and in 'our' day is the way the
marks are constructed.
I was at the school 1980 to 1984 and took CSE and O Levels, and at that time, you sat down to, say an English exam, which lasted two to three hours and was a test on what you had learnt over the previous four years. The same went for History, Maths, etc.
Now a percentage (something like 40% but don't quote me on that!) comes from coursework over a year or two, with the rest coming in the final exam or exams. These differ in that they are usually shorter (one to one and a half hours), and are not just the old fashioned question sheet, but one question paper and one information paper. I must say that if you look hard enough the answers are often all in the information sheet. Of course some exams are structured differently depending on the subject.
In the exams in 2004 however, we still had several children in a tech exam asking what 'wall mounted' meant, another in a food technology exam asking what vitamins were, and many not knowing what 50% on a pie chart looked like!
on, Andrew Carruthers! Glad, and proud of HHS, to see Alex's report on
exam progress. Very touched by Patty Laffertys' note; I never knew Gerry,
but I dearly wish I had. Perfect story about the home help and the vacuum
And John Grunewald: with you all the way, John. Except, when I took the 11+ in 1947 MCQ's were used widely, I think for the first time. How much besides (not term work, god forbid!) was taken into account I don't know, but there was certainly an essay to write and, I think, some actual arithmetic. Selection for secondary education was made on this basis for a good many years and the results seem to have spoken for themselves.
It constantly impresses me how well most HCS alumni have done, regardless of academic success. Was it 11+ selection? Or the teaching, even of the backsliders? Or the ambience? I don't know, but something of each I would guess. As for GCE, I was indignantly held back for a year from the age-14 School Cert., which it replaced in 1952, and (perhaps fortunately) one did not have the opprtunity in the first year of this new-fangled exam to discover grades, apart from some label of excellence (distinction?) for marks above 80% or failure for marks below 50%. The marks must have been available to staff, because when ARS interviewed my parents to debate whether I should return to school after suspension for some malfeasance he mentioned that I had come second in the School in 'O' Level Latin. Since he was a Latinist I was, of course, restored with fairly full absolution. By the following year, 1953, when we took 'A' Levels it was much the same, except that you could go along to the School and find out actual marks. I never bothered, having served my six years and left school. (Three years at university of Eng. Lit., French or Latin seemed just a bit too much of a good thing to me.)
I shall be away for the next 10 days. I look forward to seeing how the HCS v. HHS debate has developed on my return.
Re Harrow High - I know nothing about it but I, too, was irritated by the rather ill tempered correspondence on this web site, not least because the school seems very helpful to Alex Bateman and others, and we all need to realise that the world moves on, even if we don't always want to move with it. I may not like all the changes, but let us at least try and understand them, and remember our manners!
Mick Wasn't it called Bertorellis Cafe in Station Rd? I remember the exotic excitement of having a coffee there once when I was in the process of being taken to hospital following an explosion in Butch's Chemistry lab. Happy days. Some one has commented on the lamentable familiarity of using first names amongst ourselves. It still makes me cringe to see such familiarity extended to ones feared and revered Masters of the time. Anyone who wants my money or my custom is very quick to jump to first name terms (but I always give an awkward name like Begonia - that throws 'em) Well said Fowler, Mr G was an amazing little welshman and you dont get his ilk any more in my experience. My sincere regret is that I didnt come to this site sooner so that I could have passed on my thanks to him Have you noticed that there are quite a few sententious contributors to this site from our era (mid 50's) probably 'cos we've nothing better to do. rgds
I would like to thank all those who have sent messages of condolence and said such kind things about my husband, Gerry Lafferty.I feel so proud of him and have found the messages very comforting. May I just add that Gerry would have concurred, most strongly, with Jonathan Grunewald's distaste for the disparaging messages about Harrow High. Gerry never accepted Jean Brodie's 'creme de la creme' philosophy. Yes, of course he enjoyed teaching his pupils at a 'selected' grammar school. because his kind of academic intelligence was in tune with theirs. But he always insisted that there were different kinds of intelligence and, true to his principles,he stayed on when the school became comprehensive. Nothing enraged him more than the self-congratulatory arrogance of those who spoke of others as 'thick'. To illustrate the point, he often told the story of the unassembled vacuum cleaner. When it arrived at our home, neither Gerry nor I could make head or tail of the instructions and it remained in bits. Gerry spent most of his time looking for nuts under the sideboard. The Home Help arrived and put it together in three minutes. This was a girl whose teachers had labelled as 'thick' because she had never learned to read. Enough said.
I am, like many others, sceptical about whether standards are the same as they were in our day, and whether it is nowadays possible to get an A grade at GCSE merely by randomly guessing the answers to a multiple choice paper. If so, the fault lies with the government and the examining boards. When I did my O levels I found them very challenging and I didn't get a single A grade. But it is distasteful to see disparaging messages about Harrow High, and the staff and pupils deserve congratulations for all their hard work. It is easy to demoralise and undermine the reputation of a school, and much harder to build it up again. Parents are like lemmings, and in their anxiety to do their best for their children they run to private education at the drop of a hat. All of us HCS old boys did rather well from state education and we ought to back it and not disparage it. I look forward to the day when private schools are used only by a small and eccentric minority.
I must start this note with an apology to the Headteacher at Harrow High, Christine Lenihan for a remark I made during the Gayts Day which seems to have been the spark for the recent ‘Education Debate’, namely that the balcony area above the hall was to be used as a beauty therapy area, catering for such courses. This information was given to me by TWO members of staff at HHS, which as it now turns out was incorrect. To our anonymous contributor. The results for the Harrow High Schools GCSE exams were published in the Harrow Observer yesterday, and make very good reading. Harrow High is last on the list of 10 High Schools in the local rankings, but with a very large increase in those numbers of pupils gaining A* to C grades, in fact the largest such increase of all the local high schools. 2004 saw the numbers at 33%, rising to 48% in 2005, an increase of 15%. The next largest rise was of 4% shared by two schools. I think a large pat on the back is due to all the staff and pupils at Harrow High.
Returning to browse after a longish break, I see that Gerry Lafferty has left us. I had precious few classes with Mr. Lafferty. In part, because I was too busy trying to conform with the non-conformists, skiving off to Obertelli's cafe for a fag, the fruit machine, and some beans on toast. But still, two unforgettable little lessons from Mr. Lafferty stick with me: First, to distinguish between a metaphor and a simile, remember that a metaphor is "a wee lie" (said Lafferty, in his bewitching Scottish brogue). Second, and I don't *think* I have made this up. A good word to recall to help remember what onomatopeia is all about: "pissss." As a schoolboy I thought that was hilarious. And I share both little lessons with my children today. And as I have finally muddled my way through to an English Language and Literature-related career as a book editor---these past fifteen years---I'd like to thank Mr. Lafferty's ghost for his part in that outcome. Mick (HCS 1971---1976)
For Steve Grimes: Your reproduction if ARS's accent is spot on! By the way, I have just noticed that in the 1964 CCF photgragh I am on your right (3rd along second row). Also Jeff might like to note that that the 6th along is not Birchall, but Tony Coxhill.
I was the assistant art teacher under Norman Anderson from 1971 to 1973. I didn't know about this website till now...brought back lots of memories. Are there any photos of the staff over this period??
Someone keeps leaving abusive anonymous messages about Harrow High School on this guestbook. Please note, whether you are a current pupil or an old pupil, anonymous messages will be removed!
I AM NOW LIVING IN SPAIN. I WENT TO GAYTON IN THE YEAR 1983 TILL 1989. IF YOU REMEMBER ME PLEASE WRITE. THANKS.
Times have certainly changed Alex. When I started at HCS, forty years ahead of you Alex, none of us would dream of calling each other by our first names. An exception was with boys who had attended elementary school together. Most of us did not get on a first name basis until we had known each other for several years. The same practice applied at my father's place of work. He was there for his entire career but he knew very few of his associates by their first names. I would not have expected any of the staff in my day to use first names any more than I would expect them to come to school without a tie. Our society never seems able to decide how its member should address each other. The old Quaker way of using both names without a title has always appealed to me. I doubt that I would have the courage to keep my hat on and put out my right hand saying to the Queen, "How is it with thee Elizabeth Windsor?".
Re references to 'Bill' Bigham. It is true I never knew him as I attended the school 1980 - 1984 (with Morrie Venn being my CCF CO). However, most of my contact over the last 6 years of looking after the archives has been with staff and also Bigham's widow Alice. As a result 'Bill' is normally how he is referred to to me. On an interesting point, Don Wilkey was at my house recently for a tea and chat. He mentioned that in his day, even the staff called each other by their surname. On mentioning 'Attridge' I said, yes I knew the name, Reg Attridge. His reply was one of surprise. 'Even I never knew his first name'!
Pete: Jim Golland told you the answer, as far as he was concerned, when he gushed to your form 2A about your collectively being the cream of the cream. I'm sure that goes for some of the others at least, since very intelligent teachers tend to enjoy teaching very intelligent pupils. What you say about the HCS common room (or at any rate the cream of it), I would say about our peers at the school.At Oxford I was struck by the impression that my fellow undergraduates were no smarter on the whole than my old sixth-form cohort.
"Bill" Bigham. Somebody never knew him. Man does not deserve courtesy of any prefix or salutation!
I’m sitting here wondering. Gerry Lafferty came slightly after my time, but it’s obvious he was an excellent teacher. As were several of those who taught me (Golland, D’Arcy, Mees, Marchant). There were, at the same time, the brutes (Bigham); and there were others who did not teach me in my last years there, but were incredibly rounded and fascinating individuals (Oliver, Kincaid, Skillen). I’ve spent a career in education, teaching in Juniors, Secondary, FE and Universities – but I have never once seen a staff room that came anywhere near the variety, the brilliance and the charisma of Harrow County. And that includes University work. What was it? Was it a combination of men coming back from the war and the esteem of the teaching profession at that time? Was it that groups of people had learned to serve – and wished to devote themselves to doing this in their vocational life? Because I do think, now, that it’s inconceivable that such a group of men would each choose the vocation that they, at the time, chose. I will always remember my email exchanges with Jim Golland in what turned out to be the last few years of his life – and the realisation that his pension was a pittance; and that there seemed such a contradiction between what he had given others and what he himself was given. But, at the root of his soul, was an inspiring sense of vocation that must, in my view, have been formed in a period when the community as a whole understood, at the depth of its being, the need to give – and the need to serve.
Seems almost sacrilegious to have references to Bigham in proximity to tributes to Gerry Lafferty. Bigham was a classic case of someone who shouldn't have been allowed within miles of a classroom. I certainly remember one whole academic year in which he caned between 4 and 12 boys every single 'double period' he couldn't teach. I'm not sure of the definition of psycopath but Bigham is as close as I'd ever wish to meet.
"Bill Bigham"!!!! Alex, you'll be sentenced to a week of Tuesdays under the clock. Seriously, thanks in advance for his obit - I've heard The Colonel called many things, but never Bill!
In reply to David Jackson There is an Obit of Bill Bigham (who died of a heart attack in his drive a year after leaving HCS). I'm in the archives tomorrow so will dig it out
A grey and leaden day on my return from holiday on Monday made much worse by the sad news of Gerry's demise. He taught me for two spells in 1965/66 and 1970/71. I have particularly fond memories of the latter, the year leading up to A levels. What stick in my mind are his inspired teaching and explanation of James Joyce (Portrait of the artist leading on to exploring other works) and Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I re-read (yes really) Ulysses last year and could still hear Gerry expounding its virtues. An anecdote to remember him by ? I'd choose a lesson in the room next to A2 (I think) where after a useful canter through the politics of 1950's America he broke off for a full-board demonstration of "How you make Guinness " !
I was very saddened to come back from holiday to find the news of Mr Lafferty's passing. I'd like to add to the torrent of genuinely warm feelings expressed. He is still discussed after 30 years by all the ex-HC pupils I still keep in touch with and all concur with the comments made about his influential teaching. He used to quote Dave Allen's wise saying "May your God go with you". Well, the same to you old friend - TMB, OWYJ.
Re: The Simpson soundbite. Mine didn't work either, and I rather assumed the idea was to stare fixedly at the scary picture, and imagine the voice. In fact, it's a browser thing. Works in IE, but not in Firefox. Interesting to read his obituary again. Does anyone know if there is an obit for The Colonel anywhere ? And, I'm tempted to add, if not, why not ?
In reply to Paul Romney, your browser might not be working correctly if you can't hear the sound, so you could try this link to the sound file instead: http://www.jeffreymaynard.com/Harrow_County/simpson.wav
Jeff: I turned on my speakers, clicked on the link, and sat there like the HMV doggie. A scary picture popped up but no sound came out. Now I'm all sad.
I think the anonymous contributor's estimate of the school's population in 1958 is probably about right. However, the population increased when the post-war 1947 bulge babies (of which I was one) joined HCS in September 1958. This meant all local schools had to accept a larger intake for a few years. HCS created an additional class ("E") in the first form in 1958. This increased the total intake by some 35 boys. I believe the cumulative effect of the post-war bulge years resulted in a larger population of around 1000 boys.
reply to Steven Grimes as to where the sound clips of ARS came from - when Alex
Bateman took over the archives, I offered my services to sort through any reel
to reel tapes and films he came across. He found quite a number of tapes, some
of which I had recorded (G and S operettas for example) and a couple of tapes I
knew had been made by Jim Golland sometime between 1955 and 1961. The two clips
concerned came from one of these tapes, but I have no idea as to when or where
the recording was made (although from the acoustic of the school motto clip, it
sounds like the New school hall).
I have since copied all the tapes into my computer and cleaned up the recordings as necessary. CDs of the G and S and some other items, are available from Alex, and I have recently finished recovering a tape of 'a school day' consisting of clips of many items such as a detention list, the school orchestra rehearsing, made-up by Jim. (This compilation is also available on CD from Alex). Some of the clips from this tape have already been included on this web site.
As for films, after the death of Hugh Skillen, Alex has recovered the films shot by Hugh from the end of the 50's to the beginnings of the 70s' and on the Sunday after the recent Reunion, Alex and I viewed them. Overall the quality is still very good, but they need to be professionally cleaned and transferred to the digital domain for archiving.
Looking at school gossip 1943 sad to see: J.A. Bulcraig was later killed 19/07/1944
My recollection is that in 1958 the school population was 800-850 Forms 1-4 had approx 4*35 for each year =560 plus 5th and 6th forms.
Jeff. Any idea as to the source of that spooky ARS sound-bite? Was it from a speech day? Guess it came from early '50s, referring to predecessor Randall Williams and 850 boys? HCS was much larger by late '50s. An interesting reminder of how to pronounce "wirtooosss known stemmmmar"!
Re 1943 Gossip….fascinating to see that the School was contributing to ‘Mrs Churchill’s Aid to Russia’ scheme. On first glance, I assumed it was yet another Pavilion Fund ruse, but I was miles off and forgot that the piece was written in the middle of the war. But it is somehow reassuring to note that at that time – before the Stalin/Roosevelt/Churchill meetings got into their fullest swing – that we did acknowledge in this country the immensity of the Soviet’s war efforts. This particular fund was handled by the Women’s Institute: http://www.womens-institute.org.uk/archive/aidtorussia.shtml
Dave. I can't faithfully reproduce ARS's accent but I seem to recall him going bonkers about "short-ee coat-ees", "woodpecker shoes" and "eye-tal-ianate fashions". (circa 1962). Square much preferred us all to wear sensible shoes, green caps and navy blue raincoats. I don't recall the Swedish travellers, but I suppose we all have selective memories of that era.
Maybe "our vision is that every child should walk tall, if he has the height, and should feel able to blend with the crowd, if he doesn't stand out". Or maybe in the spirit of Lewis Carroll "to us, life is a race in which everyone has won and all should have prizes". No, I'm not very good at this mission statement thing. I suppose German schools probably opt for something along the lines of "Arbeit Macht Frei". Er, am I allowed to say that? Probably not.
Steve, I remember the woodpecker shoes, but my recollection is of the rain-gear being attributed to "third class Swedish travellers" - or is my memory really shot?
To hear ARS, turn your speakers on and click here: http://www.jeffreymaynard.com/Harrow_County/arsimpson.htm
For Peter Fowler. Your research was very interesting and I am sure that was Square in your Dunfermline photo. I stared at the face and it came to life. I started to hear a stern but far-away voice wafting from my computer speaker. It seemed to be making some kind of strong protest about birds. Was it criticising woodpeckers? Then again, it might have been making some comment about the rain-gear worn by Italians. On the other hand, could it have been threatening to come down amongst you? I am not quite sure what it all meant; the sound quality was still not very good …………...
The paragraphing problem: Yes, I don't know why, but the programme strips out the line-returns etc. Every now and then, when I do some editing to remove spam and the like, I manually add them back in - that is why the paragraphs often reappear!
A teccie question: any contribution I presently make is de-paragraphed, which is mildly annoying. Anyone else experiencing this?
been thinking of Jon's contribution about 'Mission Statements'. I think a new
Harrow County would see something like this:
Harrow County Boys Grammar School helps boys achieve their dreams. It provides a unique stage on which our pupils learn and perform the play of life, in both physical and mental contexts; demonstrating, in a manner befitting the century in which we live, the energy and the power needed to reach the stars in an explosion of fulfilled potentials.
PER VIRTUS AD ASTRA
Note: ‘stemma’, in the context of the old song, resonates with a class ridden past and a political philosophy now seen as obsolete.
Note: ‘ardua’, as in the context of the motto from which the new version above was stolen, is now highly inappropriate for a secondary school in the new century. We have replaced our studies of ‘Volpone’, ‘Erewhon’ and ‘King Lear’ with the much more lively curriculum choices of ‘Coronation Street’ (‘the latent bisexuality in the relationship between Candice and Fizz’), ‘Big Brother 5’ (‘the juxtaposition of decontextualised Tory Black Homosexuality and ASBOs from Essex’) and ‘Women NewsReaders for the New Millennium’ (‘ a Foucaultian approach to the ambiguities of Natasha Kaplinsky’)
When Gerry Lafferty ceded control to Gerry Rafferty….
Jon, welcome to the 'crazy-zone', where PC rules. Your comment that the mission statement is an oxmoron, will be challenged by vested interests. Beware that your comments will be called divise and you may even be called crazy. However if you don't mind the verbal assault, then enjoy some of the hysteria that will ensue, especially from relatives of prominent members of the OG establishment. You are but part of a much larger group that agrees with your premise, but is shouted down by the PC brigade.
I am always amused by today's fashion for "mission statements" for any organisation, and I see that Harrow High School has one. You'd think, wouldn't you, that every school could share the same mission statement and not feel the need to create its own unique statement of its vision for children's education........ anyway, here's Harrow High's statement. Have a good laugh. "We are committed...to offering an education which enables all our students to have a unique chance to be equal and the same chance to be different." If Jim Golland were alive today he'd have great fun devising parodies of statements like that.
I too mourn the passing of our teachers, and was truly blessed by their ability to pass on the most important message, that learning never stops. I hope that today's pupils get the same inspirational message and will carry on into higher education. I look forward to reviewing the examination results of the school compared to local and national results. Someone is bound to talk about added-value and language, as well as other compensatory reasons for current philosphy of education.
Peter "Min" Vincent Hi Peter, thank you for the educators perspective. IMHO the core subject should be English, maths and PC/IT skills to match todays needs. No more stinks and bombs from chemistry - not politically correct. Physics is no longer relevent now that gravity waves have exceeded the speed of light. Biology without Bigham thank god. I am not well enough informed about your side of the fence to suggest what the answer is. I can only propose what a parent wants. What do you think about CAL - computer aided learning? Its big in the States rgds
Having been absent from the site for some time it was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Mr Lafferty. I also noted that Mr Bodiam had also died. If any members of either family has occasion to read these comments I extend my sympathies to them. Both John Bodiam and Gerry Lafferty were men whom I found inspirational as teachers but who also possessed an infinite knowledge of the machinations of small boys and an approachable nature. Through the HCS English department Messrs Robertson, Golland, Lafferty and Bilson my love of literature and poetry was nurtured finally resulting in my proceeding through a first degree and then tackling an MA very late in life. If any who read this remember me I would welcome contact.
Jeff, isn’t the Web wonderful? Found myself once again so easily diverted from doing proper work by following your Simpson leads. All his international cricket performances can be seen here, circa 1928/32: http://www.cricketeurope.org/CSTATZ/saltires/csthome.htm I note he is the 9th best wicket keeper in Scottish international cricket history. But, better than that is this (patient! it takes a little time to load): http://www.dunfermlinerugby.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=4 If you look down the page (if the link doesn’t work, it’s the ‘History’ section, available from the Club’s home page), check the FOURTH PICTURE down. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that guy the second on the left on the second row from the back just has to be my old favourite Square. Bet he’s got a covert fag in one of his hands.
A quick bit of research reveals that Dr. Simpson was Rector of the Arbroath High School from 1939-46. He was commanding officer of 1041 Squadron of the ATC. Before the war he was Senior Classics Master at the Harris Academy, Dundee. As an international cricketer he played in fourteen matches for Scotland, incuding twice against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand and once against All India. He also played Rugby for some years for Dunfermline, a first-class club in Scottish Rugby Union.
Billy Peters refers to ARS' arriving from Dundee. I always understood that was a previous appointment and that he arrived with us fresh from Arbroath. (famed for Harry Lauder and kippers as opposed to cake and marmalade).
Very sorry to hear about the passing away of Jock Lafferty; he was an inspirational teacher of English. I have a clear memory of him once asking the class what we thought were the worst words in the world. His were "Auschwitz", "Treblinka", etc.
Interesting - the only memories of Jock Lafferty are good ones - and mine are just the same. He taught me English from first form to GCE - then Jago took over - and I did not prosper. I too remember General Studies Satire - and he instilled in me a love of things like that. As for his English lessons they were a delight. Amongst many amusing moments was the time when one of the class read 'Et tu Brute. Then fall Caesar' in a very loud voice - and Jock pointed out the inappropriate nature of such a tone. he was always encouraging and interested in new ideas whilst making people think. He used us pupils to research things as well as bringing his own slant on things. Oh for a Pool Reader system today - that really got me into several authors that I still find fascinating. Also the only teacher to give me a detention in the first form for talking - well deserved. I had the privilege of going to Lafferty mansions - ostensibly to do some gardening in the holidays. he picked us from Uxbridge and when it rained we were gainfully employed cataloguing his library. Also encountered him on holiday - going the wrong way down a one way street. A great teacher and an inspiration - shame about my two failures at English Lit O Level. He will be missed.
This site is fantastic!! I keep coming back to it. I can add a couple of points on Dr ARS, as, by coincidence, he was my father's Latin master in Dundee before the war: 1. Although corporal punishment was common in Scottish schools before the war, ARS was the only teacher in the school to so punish girls. 2. When he left Dundee many people were under the impression he was going to be Head of Harrow School!! Something he apparently did little to deny.
Actually I attribute most of what I have achieved in life to Gerry Lafferty, if only because I had little academic ability other than in English, and I don't think I'd have made it to Oxford to study English Literature without his encouragement (given liberally to all his pupils) and his skill in teaching us. He was one of those "captain, my captain" teachers. And better than Robin Williams. One of his gifts was to teach us to recognise bad poetry for what it was. That was quite a shock at first, because schoolboys are usually encouraged to treat all poetry with reverence and fear. If you could manage to understand the author's intention, you could then admire the poem. Never ridicule it. But Jock Lafferty read us the poetry of William Macgonagall ("alas noble Prince Leopold, he is dead! Who often hath his lustre shed". Shed?!) and I have a recollection of one wonderful lesson when he took us through a poem which began with something about the jonquils blooming in Samarkhand and finished "and Stratford's church guards dearer dust, Than Omar's shrine". We weren't sure what to make of it at first. It was a poem that rejoiced in the fact that our nation had given birth to Shakespeare. Yes, said Jock, in a comical parody of a Scottish housewife, it's simply telling us "WE'VE got the BEST". And we could then see through the images, the assonance and the iambic rhythmns, to the shallow sentiments inside the poem. It was probably afterwards that I got into trouble with Jago for making fun of some lines in Wordsworth... still, Jock's encouragement to us to question authority, read a good newspaper and to enjoy art rather than fear it, was something we all took away with us into our future lives. As Jock would have said: am I right or am I wrong? It was nice to be asked - not every teacher did. And he was usually right, anyway.
I believe the missing artefacts were given to what became known in the 1950s as 'The Pavilion Fund'. This was a catch-all revenue stream that has already been discussed many times on this forum.
The remark about the spear in 'Gossip from 1913' caught my eye too. I do not remember it or the geological specimens. I do recall the pictures that people started donating. When I arrived at the school in 1940, just about every wall in the corridors and the then Hall, was covered with pictures. There was a memorable one illustrating Canterbury Tales on the wall above the bench "under the clock". All of these pictures were removed over a summer holiday about 1945 or 1946 when the gas lights were also removed and Randall Williams departed. Some of the prints must have been expensive and even the frames of some value. I have no idea how they were disposed of.
Please note that Gerry Lafferty's funeral will be at:
Exeter Crematorium, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 6EU, next Tuesday the 23rd August at 3pm and afterwards at the Lafferty family home,
Upwood ,Old Beer Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2PX.
Gerry's son John can be contacted at 07967 527283.
Mrs Lafferty (Patty) has asked for family flowers only.
Condolence letters can be sent to: Upwood, Old Beer Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2PX.
School Gossip 1913 "Captain Timmis has presented us with an Arab spear that he picked up on the field of battle at the engagement at Omdurman" I wonder what happened to that spear.
I was saddened to hear of Gerry Lafferty's death. For me, his lessons were the most memorable and the most fun. I can still hear his voice, and his anecdotes. He pretended to be hugely offended if anyone made the mistake of calling him Gerald instead of Gerard. He derided the works of Dylan Thomas ("big bombastic phoney nonsense") but his reading of Browning's poems was truly inspiring ("a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?") especially to a class of adolescents on the brink of entering the real world. If you pleased him, he'd put "TMB" (that's my boy) or "OWYJ" (o wise young judge) at the end of your essay. And if you made a noise outside his classroom he would come out and roar down the corridor, "Go away!". I don't know what happened to his opus, "Re-Joycing" which was to be in the style of James Joyce, but it would be nice if extracts from his writing could be published on this site. To me, he was exactly the sort of teacher than a teacher ought to be. In my experience he was never belittling or patronising, always encouraging and always enormously enthusiastic about the joys of reading literature and poetry. Like Jean Brodie, he always seemed to be in his prime.
For my tribute to Gerry, I first remember Hamlet in 1971 which was one of the highlights in the school's dramatic history produced by Gerry (in modern terms directed by) - and which I had the privelege to design the lighting for. I also copy the comments I made back in 2001 when I discovered this website: Mr. Gerry "Jock" Lafferty - being taught Macbeth by a Scot, even if I couldn't understand a word, was a delight! Not to mention "Jabberwocky" (Lewis Carroll) - which until recently I thought was a Burns poem as I had only ever heard it read in the Scots style! The confusion probably arose because we did "Tam O'Shanter" in the same year, which was Burns! As a final comment, it is because of the support of teachers such as Gerry that people like me became interested in the technical side of theatre and are still in the amateur theatre lighting business after all this time...Peter "Min" Vincent
I was ever so sorry to read that Gerry Lafferty has passed away. As a teacher of English Literature (with a somewhat non-English accent...) and as a form-master Gerry was an understanding and very human individual. Tam O'Shanter will never be the same again. Michael.
Gerry Lafferty Sad news, indeed. An inspiring teacher, and one of the very few at Harrow County that I ever "connected" with. Would that there had been more like him on the teaching staff. Respect.
I was very sorry to hear of Gerry Lafferty's death. There are a lot of people who remember well his introduction to Satire in the lower sixth General Studies programme (and how many other General Studies lessons can we all remember, hand on heart?). He always seemed to be pitching what he communicated to us at a level that was sophisticated but not discouragingly obscure - some feat. To remember enjoying a teacher's lessons is noteworthy; this website proves that there are so many other things we might remember as well or instead. This is sad news.
Sadly, I have just heard from John Lafferty, who writes: "With great sadness I write to inform you of the death earlier this morning at Exeter Hospice of my father Gerry Lafferty aged 75. I know some of Dad's happiest and most fulfilling times were at the school."
As some of you may know, the School Archives are located at the School, in the room over the clock. Alex Bateman, the Old Gaytonians Association archivist, has built up a collection of memorabilia that includes everything from photographs and documents to vintage school uniforms.
The archive, which has provided many images for this website, is financially supported by the Old Gaytonians Association, which I hope visitors to the website have joined or will join.
The Gaytonian Archive has just had the opportunity to purchase an original 1915 Harrow County school cap, together with some contemporary documents, which is a museum quality addition to the archive, for 75 pounds. We are asking for donations to help defray this cost - seven people at ten pounds each. We have two already, so five more are needed.
If you are willing to donate ten pounds, please send your cheque to:
c/o Alex Bateman,
Harrow High School,
Gayton Road, Harrow,
or, e-mail Alex at email@example.com to let him know that you wish to donate. Your donation is much appreciated.
A recent entry drew attention to the demise of correct spelling and I thought it might lighten the somewhat heavy nature of recent correspondence to narrate a regular event which used to occur in the C.I.D. office where I first worked as a trainee detective in the early sixties. A crusty and embittered old sergeant and a rather dynamic young detective constable worked what can only be described these days as a 'scam' which involved the pair of them pretending to be involved in a heated argument over the plural of the word 'money'. This argument would invariably break out just as a young uniformed constable walked into the office. Naturally, the young officer would be inveigled into giving his version of the correct spelling and, without exception, they would say MONIES. This was quite natural since nearly all the documents that we had in those days also used that spelling. The young officer, convinced that this traditional spelling of the word was correct, was, unsurprisingly, soon persuaded to back his certainty with a small wager - usually half a crown. The crusty sergeant usually became a bit more animated at this point, recalling that he happened to have an "Oxford English Dictionary" somewhere in his drawers and would both parties be prepared to agree to abide by the spelling in this tome. Agreement being quickly reached the sergeant immediately 'found' the dictionary which ( perhaps through excessive use ) fell open at the word money. To the young officer's horror the dictionary clearly showed that the plural of money was moneys. I have often wondered quite how much that pair won before they ran out of gullible officers to plunder but I suspect that few people who worked at Paddington in the sixties could not now spell the plural of 'money' correctly, if asked!
Don Kincaid who taught modern languages at HCS in the '50's and '60's is remembered for his virtuoso musical performances at the Afro American Music and 6th Form Society. Primarily for Gayts, Don is now releasing a limited edition CD of an archive recording of one of these concerts made in the "New Hall" with sleeve notes by the internationally respected authority on blues music (& Gayt), Paul Oliver, who incidentally has recorded a soundbite (for those who can play it). See www.celsus.plus.com for further information.
Is there a hospital address for Harry so that we can send cards, please?
In response to Min, I had a call from Beryl Chase last night (who is recovering from a broken hip herself), who said that Harry is not well at the moment and is in hospital. Those at the OG Dinner will have seen him not his usual self. I for one wish him the best, I'm sure many others do aswell.
In response to Min, I had a call from Beryl Chase last night (who is recovering from a broken hip herself), who said that Harry is not well at the moment and is in hospital. Those at the OG Dinner will have seen him not his usual self. I for one wish him the best.
Going back to the backstage reunion. We identified 1,073 people who qualified to attend. We managed to locate 547 of these, 190 of which said they were coming. In the end 229 turned up on the day. Several of us had to work more or less full time on this for some months to achieve this number. We were hoping for 100, so it was a success but still puzzled why so many of those contacted didn't want to come. Obviously some were abroad or getting Nobel prizes - but some travelled from as far away as Australia to be there, and those that came I hope were not disappointed. By the way, anyone heard from Harry recently?...Min
Laurence (I assume it is you?) - all parents want the best for their kids. In our time, that meant hoping that at age 10-11 they got into a grammar school, HCS preferably. If they did not, then those with the money could and did send their children to a private school. Nowadays in the state system we have a lottery based on where you live deciding primarily which school you can go to. Favoured schools can effectively choose which "out of area" students they want once the ones they have to take have been sorted out. In Basingstoke, 3/8 schools are oversubscribed, the other 5 are currently out of favour. Once again those with the money (and sometimes clout) can get what they want - a place at the school of their choice or a private option. We don't have any grammar schools in Basingstoke, but there are several busy private schools. So parents have always, and still do, want the best for their children - there is nothing "barking" about this. So the point is that both current and old systems are unfair - "Yes, Prime Minister" suggested that comprehensive education was invented to have equality between teachers - children didn't come into it! PV
I wonder how many of you, who had the benefit of state funded education, sent their children to fee-paying schools? Did you choose the likes of HHS, or did they attempt to get into the few remaining Grammar Schools in your locale? The local school, Tiffins, is inundated by applications, by parents wanting their children to have the chance of a HCS-type education. Isn't that what politicians want for their own kids? Are they 'barking' too?
Brian - I don't think anyone would argue against "streaming" (not sure of current PC word!) students today. The problem is that for all but the core subjects, this could only be achieved by limiting course choice. I teach ICT at a fairly large school (1250), but quite often the number choosing to do ICT at GCSE level is only enough for a single class of up to 30 or so. This is often the case with the other non-core subjects as well (Core = Eng, Maths, Science). This means I take whoever has chosen to do the subject - which in extreme years can range from children with statemented learning difficulties to absolute boffs! The real answer would be to split extreme classes like this in two: a smaller one for the "slower" students and a larger one for those able to work independently at a faster rate. However, the school can't afford another teacher or the accomodation to put the second class in. So I am with you, but reality makes it hard to achieve. At HCS - in my time at least - choice was restricted from the second year depending on which stream you were in so the numbers in the 4th form could be fairly accurately predicted in advance. I don't remember many small classes before the 6th form (ecomomics and RE being obvious exceptions)? Peter Vincent, ICT Teacher and HCS 1966-1972
I'm glad you highlighted the self-serving tripe from the egregious Portillo in last Sunday's Times. "The lesson of grammars is elitism benefits us all" (31/jul/2005)
I didn't understand the headline at first - hardly grammatical. I did trouble myself to speed-read it and it shows how he likes the sight of his own penmanship. Stock in trade for a career polititian.
What I found remarkable in the article is that, it so closely mirrors the state of the Tory party and , of course, the reason for their miserable performance in the last election - I am not vaunting the cause of the Billy Liar party either BTW. I dont much care for our current style of hypocratic government today.
What I mean to say is that the offending article has nothing to say. Pontious Portillo does not say that he supports the re-introduction of the Grammar School system. He merely drops some names and rehashes the ambidextrous arguments for and against academic selection. He has no solutions or policies to offer - just like the Tory party. Although we old gits undoubtedly benefited from the selection process (because we passed muster), I'm sure we would sympathise with those who felt damaged and demoralised by the sense of failure as an 11 year-old.
IMHO we must have a selection or streaming system designed to fit most ranges of ability (currently identified in 6 categories(1) General intellectual. (2) General creative. (3) Specific academic. (4) Technical and practical arts.(5) Visual and performing arts. (6) Interpersonal..
Nobody questions the pursuit of elitism in sport. We do not "dumb down" the potential of our young athletes. If beaten, try again (where have I heard that one?). So "why?" I ask, do we have such a super-sensitivity to academic excellence?
I am not an educator, just a concerned parent. The 11 plus was vilified not only for the damage it did to the less gifted but also because it was based on the widely discredited Binet tests of popular IQ fame. I believe that a form of continuous assessment supported by interim tests designed to identify inherent talent (called the multi-dimensional assessment procedure I believe). This is being pursued actively in America (where you get the kind of education you are prepared to pay for). Despite criticisms, these tests are providing a reliable indication of future ability and, what is often overlooked, they provide an early warning of areas of learning difficulty - very valuable.
Michael's pro bono 2000 word article has shown once more, the inner workings of the shallow Tory party - all talk and no brake-horsepower.
Regards to all in '56
As one of the co-organisers of the 2001 backstage reunion I would say that its success in attracting attendees was primarily because there was a common bond between nearly all the attendees - namely Harry Mees (and several other masters who helped out backstage). It was also unusual in that being part of the stage crew gave certain priveleges whilst at the same time an element of danger - which each could relate to. It was also one of the few which had close links to the girls'school and after I left with Harriets Wood over two versions of Convergence. Our original plan was only to get the technical team from Hamlet 1971 together for a meal! I am a little sceptical that just getting people with a loose afiliation, such as sports, would attract many takers without a common link - finding people is one thing, getting them to attend is another matter. Peter Vincent
Further to Jeff's remarks on closing down the discussion on education and HCS, it did rather divert attention from Alex Bateman's request for feedback on the reunion and thoughts for future events. Certainly the numbers were not as good as for the 90th "Birthday Party" in 2001. One person did remark to me that it would be better to focus on a particular anniversary. Okay, it was exactly 30 years since HCS ceased to be but that was probably too negative to hold a reunion around. The Centenary is some years off and I cannot immediately think of another event to mark with an anniversary. It was four years since the last "open" reunion at the school and that was probably a bit too long. The 90th reunion was held at rather short notice and there could well have been more attending with more notice. The "Friends Reunited" fad was just picking up at that time and it could have been better capitalized upon. But I guess the OGA had other things on their plate like the issue of the Club House. So let's kick off some sort of discussion. Apart from a straight reunion there are a couple of other "excuses" for a type of event (or a theme to a reunion). Both have worked well. One was getting together as many as possible from a particular year group or groups. The "1968" event managed to contact all but a handful of that intake. The other is to focus on a school activity. The Drama get together seems to have been another well attended event. Other activities that perhaps then lend themselves to reunions are a general Sports, CCF or Scouts. Speaking for the Old Gayts/Harrow Athletics Club, I think that we would be happy to go along with the idea of a Sports Reunion. Quite a number of pupils would have participated in more than one of the major sports (Rugby/Cricket/Cross Country). There are a number of ex athletes who either did or didn't carry on competing after leaving school who it would be nice to see again. Unfortunately, the school playing field and old rugby pitches are no longer intact for a re-enactment of a school match (!). But the old cross country courses are still jogable or walkable. An amble over Harrow Hill is quite pleasant for anybody who hasn't been back to area for a while especially as traffic has been curtailed on the hill. Although a detour into the Castle might be too much of a temptation. Anyone from the other Sports Clubs interested?
I used to get in terrible trouble with those funny HR people when interviewing for secretaries. I had to fuss and fight as I'd say, 'Please....just let me dictate this....all I want is a 100% score...' ------------------------------------------------------ They’re going to their mums over there . They’ve separate accommodation but, in its own way, the arrangement’s suitable. Where were you going? To the boys’ school? More like a children’s home, I believe. It's a disgrace, isn't it?
Speaking of Jim Golland... As a teacher (of ICT) I often see the word committee spelt incorrectly these days. I tell my students how my English teacher (JAGO) taught me to spell it correctly when I got it wrong in some essay or other - JAGO held a giant dictionary in one hand and said "DOUBLE M" then gave me a whack! on the back of the head with said dictionary, "DOUBLE T" whack!, "DOUBLE E!" whack! I felt only respect for him at the time, and did so right until he left us recently - and can still spell committee right!... PV
It's a funny old world. Of the four children in our family I was the one that went to HCS whilst the others went to Blackwell Secondary Modern. Yet despite my A Levels I was the one who did not go on to higher education whilst one sister read Fine Art, another Business Studies, and my brother Civil Engineering. The selective system allowed us to make educational choices when it was appropriate to us. It suited us well and we are still in touch with the many friends made in both schools all of whom seem to have made their way in life successfully. The only strange thing is that I ended with a Professor title! Bob Garratt
Hi! I thought I was alone in noticing something wrong with the present-day (often incorrect) usage of the apostrophe “S”. Even after 40 years, I have not forgotten what I learned from Jim Golland. When I see others clearly getting it wrong I think of Jim! I do admit though, that I sometimes have to think very carefully to get it right! I cannot remember how much I had to pay to secure my copy of Gayton Times in 1958 - I probably used my “tuck-shop” money to buy it. That probably meant I had to sacrifice my Wagon Wheels, Hula Hoops, Pepsi or something! The interesting thing is that I still have my Gayton Times to remember, but purchases from the tuck-shop would never have survived so long! My Acrobat files are "black and white", so they do not show the real colours of the Gayton Times cover pages. The cover pages are actually coloured bright yellow: (255,204,0 FFCC00) with red printing (255,0,0 FF0000). (You can go to http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wdnut/excerpt/web_palette.html to see a guide to the real colours). Cheers
That Gayton Times is wonderful – I don’t remember it at all, even though I must have been in the Third Form at the time. So many gems – Simpson’s last sentence (‘nothing to do with me, guv’), Paul Oliver’s erudite piece (he must have been either writing or planning ‘Blues Fell This Morning’ at this very time) and a collection of adverts that almost send shivers down the spine.
I wonder what the ‘well known ‘Daks’ trousers and two piece suits’ that Wheatleys were selling were like? And – and no, I don’t want to revisit the terrain of the last few weeks – isn’t is astonishing seeing a whole set of advertisements with perfect apostrophes? (Wheatleys have ‘men’s and ‘boys’…..an almost inconceivably accurate coupling in 2005). It must be something to do with the education I received….but I so often sit at home and cringe when I’m watching even the BBC News and spot an error of this nature.
Many thanks for the posting.
The Gayton Times, 1958, kindly sent in by my 1A class colleague Steve Grimes, and available for download in three sections on the main site, is just wonderful. I don't recall ever having purchased this - does anyone remember how much it cost ? The adverts are just terrific, Odeon Radio, Sopers (visit our new self-service cafeteria). The image of Harry Mees turning up for a rugby tour "a little the worse for wear" and "snoozing peacefully" in a deckchair during the channel crossing. Wonderful stuff, thanks Steve for providing it.
We are going to close the current discussion on education and the School, at least for the time being. The controversy has produced some interesting contributions, and they are all appreciated. However, some of them have become much too personal, insulting the contributor rather than discussing the topic. The various views of the Gaytonian on-line community are certainly interesting and are obviously on both sides of the selective versus non-selective education argument.
We need a new topic for discussion!
Jeff Maynard (webmaster)
Please move on
Since my father died, just over two years ago, I have followed the correspondence on this web site. It has helped me to keep in touch with how his other family are getting along.
In recent weeks I have been angered and appalled by the ill-informed, ill-judged and fatuous criticisms of Harrow High that Laurence Lando made in the guest book and dismayed by the reaction to them.
I can only assume that this man has lived in a cave since the mid seventies as he has apparently not noticed the changes both in society and in education. His comments about HHS are therefore as meaningless as they are offensive and an appropriate reaction would be to ignore them. I was particularly saddened to read the response from Christine Lenihan and Steve Campbell which seemed to confirm Lando’s prejudices by stating that the two schools have only the site in common. I know that this is not the case but I can understand that the Head and her Deputy must have been hurt and offended by this wholly unwarranted criticism and reacted in kind.
Even if you believe, as many of us do, that a return to selective education would be a good thing, it is crazy to make this a criticism of the current school and the education it provides.
I am obviously not an old boy but an old girl of HCGS, though I am an Old Gaytonian. My father was Tony Rhoades and my mother is also an old girl and a Governor of Harrow High.
Dad was at the forefront of the fight to keep selective education and grammar schools in Harrow during the 70’s; he was destined to lose this battle, which he deeply regretted for the rest of his life. He continued to believe that grammar schools offered the best opportunity for children of all backgrounds to achieve their full potential and he never wavered from this view.
Nonetheless in later years Dad served as Liaison Officer between HHS and the OG’s and was a staunch supporter of the current school under the leadership of Mrs Lenihan. This was not because he had changed his views but because he shared common values with the current Head, in particular the belief that the opportunity to succeed should be available to all students based on their merit and effort irrespective of background and social class; an idea that has something in common with the selective grammar school that he attended.
Dad also played a key role in reinstating the School Remembrance Service which is attended by Old Boys as well as current HHS students. I attended this last year and was impressed and touched by both by the demeanour of those students I met and their obvious interest in and connection with the history of ‘their’ school during the wars of the last century as well as this one. Alex Bateman’s excellent archive plays a vital part in this. I was proud to feel that this is part of my Dad’s legacy and I would hate it to be diminished in any way by the comments of Laurence Lando.
I would suggest that LL should attend this annual service to obtain a better view of how the liaison between the current school and OGA works in practice, but I fear he is as incapable of objectivity as he is a stranger to rational thought.
In fact what has become clear over the past few weeks is that LL does not speak for Old Gayts or indeed old boys– please take note Christine, Steve and all HHS staff – and do not take offence. The fact that he believes that his pompous pontificating has sparked a 'fruitful discussion on the present and future educational & social objectives of the current school, and the role of the OGA' –confirms that he is delusional.
Since he is clearly barking it would be a shame if the efforts of hardworking Old Gayts were high-jacked and tarnished by his contribution. I will not respond to Laurence Lando’s inevitable riposte and I would implore all sensible readers to similarly ignore his ramblings in future and move on to better things.
What short memories everyone seems to have. Yes Harrow County was a good school, and even dunces like me benefited from being there as I did eventually go to university and can read and write properly (rather than "well good" as they would say in Basingstoke). However, what about the children to went to Secondary Moderns - how many of these went on to take A levels? Very few, because one of the problems of having the Grammar Schools was to also have the Roxeth Manors. Full marks to the handful who joined a Grammar School in the 6th form, but most ended up with no or very few "O" levels. As most people went to Secondary Modern, that means that most of the most ended up with few useful qualifications (mostly CSE). So it is all very well to concentrate on how good the Grammar Schools were, but you have to keep the "reject pile" in mind. Peter Vincent BA(Hons), Teacher and HCS 1966-1972
In this current debate as to past v present it would be interesting to perform the impossible test as to where HCS would have ranked in league tables. Presumably the more rigorous exam nature in the old days would balance out in rankings. We should also remember that Oxbridge rankings are not the be all and end all as the majority of us passing through Gayton Road never went there. O and A level results are interesting but the stst that normally interests me is the added value one. What would that have been in the 60s and 70s? On a separate note my son attends Watford Grammar school for boys, a comprehensive school with limited selection and a grammar school ethos. Their results are second to none and are an interesting model to follow in the right environment. PAUL
Paul, you correctly state that 'HCS was no ordinary Grammar School' and whilst I have been chastised for not finding any favour in the current school on the site of HCS, my premise that the community would be better off with a C21 version of HCS remains unshaken. Laurence
I have found the current controversy about the old and the new to be an eye-opener in one respect. Ever since I encountered this web site, three or four years ago, the demise of Harrow County has been discussed in terms suggesting that the change had instituted a calamitous collapse in educational standards in the borough. But Dennis Orme notes that Harrow ranks well in the "School League tables," and some quick Googling confirms his assertion. When it comes to preparing students for university entrance, Harrow seems to be outperforming those neighbouring boroughs whose schools some parents prefer to Harrow's own. I enjoyed Steve Grimes's contribution to the debate, but I can't say that I'm persuaded by Michael Portillo's article in the Sunday Times. Notice how it refers to "my grammar school" without revealing that HCS was no ordinary grammar school and 1971 no ordinary year in its illustrious annals. In the argument pro and con grammar schools, Harrow County's Oxbridge successes are a red herring.
Dear Jeffery please could you tell me how to access a list of old boys [and addresses]for my years. 1949 to 1955. Regards VFT
It seems to the discussion about the school past & present ignores one fundamental preference. The institutionalised violence (Simpson, Bigham etc) is now gone.
Sorry to keep banging on about politics and politicians (past as well as present). However, I have just read Michael Portillo's article in today's Sunday Times entitled "The lesson of grammars is elitism benefits us all". I don't always agree with Michael but his analysis is excellent and I find myself in complete agreement with everything he has written. If you want to read his comments you can go to the following web address:
Peter - thus ends a rumbustious couple of weeks of correspondance. PACE Laurence
enough said this time. Except (God, don’t I go on?)…......since no one else
seems to want to blow my argument to smithereens, let me do it myself (thought
about this as I was out walking in the hills just now)......…my argument falls
on its assumption that HCS would have been the same now as it was when we were
at school – and, of course, it wouldn’t…....it had already changed (after
I left) with the arrival of Cowan and the retirement of Simpson and those
teachers I had seen as deliciously deviant in the 50’s (Oliver, Kincaid) would
have become the mainstream in the 70s (remember Don K ended up as a Head
Teacher)…....after all, I began teaching myself in ’66 and those like me
(heaven forbid) would, no doubt, have ended up in places like a retained HCS.
Don’t know where this goes..…except, as always, I still stick with Bob Dylan’s line in 1964 when he berated those who believed ‘the lies that life is black and white’.
As always, the answers contain shades….
Peter, for one that finds 'it almost impossible to reply', you have made a laudable effort. You find it possible to criticise the current system, yet not the school's failings. Not my problem; yours perhaps?
makes so many points of contention that it becomes almost impossible to reply.
There are many of us who appreciated aspects of HCS. Even though I
personally found certain aspects repellent (ARS, Bigham, the Cadet Force,
dropping subjects across the board when I was 13) I will treasure forever some
of the teaching I received (D’Arcy, Mees, Golland); the friendships that I
made that have proved life-long; and the creative energies at play in the school
(the plays, the concerts and individuals like Paul Oliver and Don Kincaid). For
those of us who were there – those who scored the very best marks in the
Borough at the 11+ - it would have been difficult not to find something that, in
the end, shaped us.
You are wrong on another point: those like me believe there are fundamental failings with secondary education at present – and, constructively, to hit 21st Century objectives, the schools need to be much smaller; the National Curriculum needs trashing; vocational options need to have the same value as academic; and creativity needs to be centre-stage and not marginalised to an after-thought session on a Friday afternoon. After all, creativity (and knowledge) are now key to the future prosperity of the country. England’s always been good at the imaginative and the technical, very often with the two forces combining: but this is simply not reflected in the present-day curriculum.
Where we fall out is you believing that HCS is ripe for resurrection; and me believing that - whilst it was right for that lucky bunch of boys who sailed through the scholarship 50 years ago - Harrow County Boys Grammar does not present a valid model for the communities that characterise the country as it is (not how it was).
I feel perfectly able, incidentally, to say, at the same time, that I admire the present HHS leadership and the school they run – and yet criticise the system in which it operates as a whole. There is no contradiction there.
But it simply does not follow to say that any problems in the present system can only be addressed by throwing the gearstick into reverse.
That would not help anybody.
I'm going to stay neutral in the debate. But I can't help smiling at the thought of what Simpson would have made of today's ethnic mix!
Paul et al Maybe I was content to see someone had an appreciation of the value of HCS. Was I wrong? It appears so. I also read the latest results from the HHS and as they fail to meet any of their scholastic targets, maybe they aren't even good enough to equip the current pupils for the C21? That HCS could equip its boys for the C20 is beyond question. I would prefer to not comment on the current teaching, but wonder why there is so much admiration for the status quo, yet an apparent absence of constructive critisism. The latter day ethnic communities were among the strongest advocates of advancement through education. As a baby-boomer, I grew up in the Welfare State; I cannot accept, despite a multiplicity of comment to the contrary, that yester-years quality's are still not an aim to be espoused for the present and future generations of Harrow's children. Perhaps we could have a debate next year, although finding a seconder might be difficult!
Laurence - sorry to disappoint you but I do not totally agree with you. I can see your viewpoint and from a personal perspective agree that HCS was a "good thing" at the time. As to the present the HCS ethos would not fit in with society of today (regrettably) and therefore HHS is better suited to provide the children of Harrow with the ways and means to allow them to adapt to life in the 2000s. Trying to compare HHS with HCS is like a cricketing anorak asking whether Bradman would be worth his place in the Australian test team of today - the question cant ever be answered as life rolls on.
should that be demeane :-)
Peter Lawson has written an erudite piece about HCS ( 2001) in which his position about the school is made quite clear. He certainly was no fan at the time and his reaction to my comments is clearly antagonistic to the HCS ethos.
The debate has 'raged' this last two weeks and perhaps its conclusion is that of the Head/Deputy when they stated that ' the only thing shared is the site'.
Spell? Is that supposed to be a cryptic clue, or just a snide remark? Either way it demeens the writer.
Did the old ways teach us all how to spell?
Paul I thought I was alone? Thanks for the overview which I am delighted to say the contents of which I agree, and its comprehensive nature and brevity. BTW happy to say Latin was not a requirement in medical school. Laurence
It seems to me having recently dipped into the furore following the open day which regrettably I could not attend due to a family function that both sides of the argument are correct. Laurence is right in bemoaning the loss of a once great school and I still regret its demise and my lost chance to go into the 6th form (the first year not allowed to do so) because of some politically correct or incorrect decision. However, times change and since the purpose of schooling is to train one for later life the modern curriculum is probably more relevant to todays' needs. A child of today will not welcome nor use Latin (although thanks to Messrs Avery and Marchant this was the only way of learning English grammar - the late 1960s in primary school had already abandonned the subject); therefore, why not teach them something relevant? If this is to be photography at O and A level (sorry GCSE and A level) then so be it. Let us leave HHS to do what they are good at and let us wallow in the past and say how things were better in them days. After all we had never had it so good and where would we prefer to be now?
The previous letter, with no named contributor [it was Peter Fowler, name added in - ed], mentions that the pupils of HCS were the best that could be attracted to the school at that time. He states that he chose to send his daughters to an independent school and not to a state-funded education establishment. Today we have the Professional Teachers Association commenting on the NEED for selective schools. I appreciate all of your comments on the change in demography in the Harrow area. None of the responses have come near to persuade me to mourn the loss of a great school and to accept the current establishment as anything but a symptom of a poor educational system. To comment otherwise would be falacious. It is not uncommon for the silent majority to remain quiescent as they worry that the 'PC brigade' will just get too noisy. This indeed has been the case in this correspondance, and I will not cowtow to the effervescence of current froth! The truth is that the past was better than the present, so let's carry on meeting and applauding excellence.
Blimey! It's all getting a bit heavy on the ol' comments innit? My fondest memories of the school (70s era)are not of any great academic significance (although no doubt they were there) but of a bunch of slightly mad and funny individuals doing silly things to amuse themselves - Joosa Jim runs, the desk destruction squad and the like. Have to say,I've spent a large chunk of my later years finding people disappointingly "straight". HCS gave me and those I am still in contact with a great sense of fun and absurdity. It's no surprise to me that such things as "The Hitchhiker's Guide" had a small but important input from and old lag of ours.
There are hundreds of state schools that have a track record of your ‘academic
excellence’, most of which are defined by a post-code lottery…..your problem is
that you do not appreciate the huge demographic changes that have occurred in
Harrow. HHS reflects the community it serves….
I do not criticise (I, rather, applaud) the HHS staff because, in the circumstances in which they work, it is abundantly clear, from every objective assessment, that they are a dedicated, professional group of people: they are every bit as committed to helping their pupils reach their dreams as Simpson was in wishing to see his pupils aspire to Oxbridge. It just so happens that their constituency is manifestly not the same as Simpson’s.
Remember – because I remember it well – HCS took only those who did very well at the 11+. I will always remember Jim Golland saying to me and others, on our first day in 2A, that we were the ‘cream of the cream’…..that we had been the best at the 11+ (which is why I, as an example, was able to turn down Pinner County and Harrow Weald) and now we were the best in HCS – the ‘cream of the cream’.
Christine and those who run HHS deal, to follow this analogy, with a little bit of cream mixed up with a bit of full fat, mixed in with a whole pile of semi skimmed and skimmed….and, to make the issue even more complicated, some of these don’t even have English as a first language. You must have noticed, when we were there the other Saturday, the host of English classes going on in what I still call rooms B8, B9 and B10.
This, Laurence, is England, 2005.
My guess is you don’t like it.
The current exchanges seem to start with an observation that our old HCS VI Form
balcony should still have the same function as it did 40 years ago. I understand
the sentiment, but in my view, if you move out of a house and go back later, it
is not right to criticise the new owners because they removed the fireplace that
you previously installed in the living room. Surely, once new owners have taken
over your old house, they can legitimately use it in any way most relevant to
their own needs.
I have not visited Gayton Road since the mid 70’s and I do not intend to return. In my experience, it is not a good policy to return to any place I enjoyed working in once I have ceased to be directly involved with it. To do so can lead to shattering my own illusions and the people who came after me might resent my presence or opinions. Things move on.
This does not mean I do not want to meet old friends but if I do so, I prefer the reunion to be on neutral ground!
Did HCS need to change? Yes, of course it did. Things cannot stay the same forever. HCS was a product of the British Empire. Its role was to educate boys through two World Wars. Perhaps the scouts and cadets reflected that era. However, the world has since changed. “Square” retired around the time of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1965. South Africa was at that time a very different country to what it is today. A large number of Commonwealth countries had not yet gained independence from Great Britain. We had not yet voted to join the Common Market (or woke up to find ourselves in the EU). Our world in the 1950’s and 1960’s was a very different place both educationally and politically.
In business, I have learned that resistance to change is counterproductive but that to be most effective, where change is necessary, it should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In the wider sense, I have concerns that changes made in haste always lead to an opportunity to repent in leisure. Like many others, I have always found it difficult to comprehend the wisdom of the politically destructive decisions that led to the instant, absolute and total destruction of HCS in the 1970’s. I have always wondered whether a more acceptable way forward at that time might have been for the Local Authority to adopt a policy of more gradual change.
However, the fact remains that in the 1970’s, the Local Authority destroyed something that was capable of evolutionary change and its negligent, political decisions are now almost certainly irreversible. The current school is not responsible for these unthinking political decisions and it must now do its best to work with what they have inherited and must be allowed to do what is right for them in 2005, irrespective of how we might feel about loss of our own heritage.
On an educational note, I would add that it would be difficult, even impossible in 2005, to find anything quite like “Square’s” approach, even in a good quality fee-paying school. My own daughters attended such a school and encountered a significantly wider range of non-academic options to those offered to us by HCS in the 1960’s. They have both gone through University and I do not think they suffered as a result.
(HCS 1958 to 1964)
Peter et al, support the present school, with little or no apparent critisism. Please do not read anything into my observations other those that are objective. I acknowledge the current situation that you, together with the current Head and her Deputy refer in their response to my initial comments. Do not be so presumptious to infer that you detect a 'sneer' in my input, it belittles your constructive comments. Perhaps a conclusion may arise that the only heritage of HCS is to be found in the Independent Sector of Education? If so, the nation is the loser together with parents and their children who can not afford the private route. I come from such a family and defend the pursuit of excellence that HCS allowed; to reitierate 'Worth not Birth'. Pace
Laurence Lando wrote on 25 July:-
"Suffice it to say, that it seems that we are agreed that scholastic excellence is no longer possible in a school with an ethnic mix that exists in Harrow today, despite the millions of pounds being spent by local and central government."
As a black OG who went on to a Cambridge organ scholarship and has been a secondary shool teacher since for twenty-three years - including teaching for nine years at St Paul's Girls' School, I am puzzled by the 'we' mentioned above, and would welcome the objective evidence to support the remark.
Re the piece just added, Hugh Skillen's 1987 Gaytonian contribution: the more I read about this man, the more I admire him. The controlled anger of this extract is magnificent. I really, really wish I'd known him at school.
Laurence, you don’t seem to get it - and your use of the phrase ‘touch of
objectivity’ is entirely indicative of your own very subjective approach,
somehow suggesting that anyone who does not subscribe to your viewpoint is de
facto corrupted by an unidentified set of prejudices.
How on earth can you criticise HHS because it is not like HCS? Just how many of the pupils presently in HHS do you think would have got into HCS? Do you notice, when looking at pictures of the pupils in HHS, that maybe they are a little different than we were? Do you think it’s possible that the population of Harrow is now a little different than when we were at school?
You have every right to argue for a different educational model – I myself do, though from a very different angle. And you have every right to state that, in your view, the Grammar School model is still relevant.
But what seems to emerge from your writing is, I would suggest, a wholly unwarranted attack on the present school that operates within the present political context to the very best of its considerable ability. In your last note (27 July) you almost sneer at it. You imply that those of us who admire the present school and its staff (and I certainly do) are blinded by some brick wall of dogmatism that will fall to pieces once we realise, in a moment of sudden illumination, that the course suggested by a couple of head teachers at a conference is so obviously right; and that the old school flag should once again be seen flying in Sheepcote Road.
Think about it. I actually think you’re being hurtful.
It appears as if the predictable knee-jerk reactions to my missives have lessened. I wonder if those with a touch of objectivity may still consider to respond. It appears that today's news broadcasts, as well as giving news of capture of terrorists, have included items on the value to the nation of Grammar Schools!
That's not news to me, but might enlighten a few of the admirers of HHS, which as you may ascertain does not include yours truly. I look through all the history included in this website together with anecdotes and photographs, and will not accept that today's education of our young people is in any way comparable to that afforded to previous generations. Acceptable maybe, comparable never!
I presume I will be told to wait under the clock, again!
It was very interesting (If a tad shocking) to see my school photo and all the people I have not seen since leaving Gayton. (1980- Form 4H) I have since recorded three albums, won a music award and recorded/played with the Robbie Williams band, LuLu, Take That, Peter Andre etc. I may well go onto Friends reunited to see if i can contact any of the others from that class.
This is a great idea. Well done Jeffrey.
Old Gaytonians Golf Society
West Herts Golf Club - 7th October 2005
Click here for more information about the Old Gaytonians Golf Society
Dennis Orme is spot on in his feelings on league tables: they have been the
curse of this government since its beginning. League Tables, in essence the
ticking of non-contextualised competence boxes, end up corrupting all
institutions judged in this way – whether it’s your GP creating a nonsensical
appointments system, or a hospital consultant rushing through your consultation
in order not to have ’45 minutes late’ on the blackboard outside his room, or a
school in panic over its perceived need to exclude pupils. In education, far too
much of the ‘improvement’ made in those secondary schools that glory in the name
of ‘academy’ have been down to a wilful bending of the GCSE rules by the
introduction of ‘new’ GCSE qualifications that fit their academy-status profile.
So, at the same time that results go ‘up’ (quantitatively), the actual quality
of certain core subjects can go down.
I backed, and would still back, the introduction of comprehensive education: far too many people of my generation were left on the sidelines for comfort. But it was done in a completely ad-hoc way and simply not thought through. Our present secondary education system is a disaster area, as anyone knows who has had children bright-eyed and perky in junior schools who became bored and alienated in secondary.
Given that secondary moderns were built to serve the needs of industrialism; and given that too many comprehensives echoed secondary moderns; and given that we manifestly live in a post-industrial society which is driven not by large factories but by small companies – given all of these things, anyone who begins thinking about a relevant secondary education would immediately see the complete misalignment between the huge monoliths that are secondary schools and the real world outside its doors. Headteachers are very often the last autocrats in town.
Written, as Colin Dickins so eloquently noted, as a transient snippet of ephemera: so interesting, isn’t it, that these pieces, gone in a flicker, paradoxically remain forever in the outer reaches of cyberspace – whereas yesterday’s newspaper, so much weightier a read, are consigned to the wrapping of chips.
In the north, by the way, with gravy. And sometimes even curry.
When I moved here, never could get my head round that one.
May I add my thanks to Alex for the excellent Gaytonian Day and tour of the
school last week? More fool those who thought of coming and didn't.
Just to add to the debate that seems to have started up, partly as a parent who will soon be putting his daughter through the Harrow system:
The current education system in Harrow is still very much the victim of the changes that were brought in during the mid 1970's. The late transfer age to secondary education (at 12 instead of 11) and the lack of sixth forms in the schools is unpopular with parents and a great number go to neighbouring boroughs or towns (Hillingdon, Watford, Rickmansworth). And of course quite a number opt for private education whereas our generation's parents didn't consider the need to (unless you were particularly wealthy or your child had failed to get to grammar school and you didn't want them to go to the secondary modern).
The borough's catholic schools (Salvatorian and Sacred Heart) have now started admitting pupils at 11 and some of the other schools will be reintroducing sixth forms. However, it will need a huge injection of cash and two new secondary schools to change back the transfer age for the rest.
It is surprising, and perhaps a testament to how well schools in the borough perform, that Harrow as a borough does rank well in the School League tables.
It was interesting to re-read the last chapter of Trevor May's history of the school recently which relates the story of how the changes to the borough's education system were chopped and changed and eventually pushed through. On one level it demonstrates why strategic decisions such as those should be made at a national level or at least a level above the borough, and not by local "experts".
I'm not going to get on the bandwagon of slagging off the move to comprehensive education. But I would say that in my short time in education in West Yorkshire in the early 1980's, I did spend time or visit some comprehensive schools even in quite deprived areas that were working very well. But as with any organisation, it is down to the skills of the head teacher and management team how well it works. From the outside, it seemed like Harrow Council's move to comprehensive education was to drop the 11 plus, throw everything up in the air, letting the pieces fall into some sort of order and hey presto, the borough would have a fully functional comprehensive education system.
Harrow County suffered the fate of a large number of ex grammar schools and dropped in standards. Some failed to implement sufficient initiatives to cope with a non selective intake and certainly a couple I came across had headteachers and staff just sitting out their time until retirement. It would probably not be diplomatic to go through the reasons why Gayton High sunk and came to point of whether to close the school or reinvent it. But what is obvious to most is that Gayton High was not helped by the sixth form being dropped which fed the exodus of staff from the school.
So 30 years on Harrow is still saddled with a system that does not meet the needs of a significant number of the parents and would cost a considerable amount of money to undo. And our old school is at the bottom of the borough league tables and, despite the change to Harrow High and the monies spent on it, will still be perceived by parents as not the best option.
It is pointless trying to compare the curriculum in the current school with that in the 1970's, you will probably get the same difference between the 1970's and 1930's. There may have been smirks when there was mention of Beauty Therapy being taught but no doubt the current generation would question the need for Latin and wonder what "British Constitution" was about.
One important lesson Harrow County taught me about what schools ought be about is that they should be able to help bring out whatever talent a child has whether it be academic, sporting, cultural or whatever. Everyone should be able to achieve at something. If the system could focus on this and not the narrow goal of the school league tables it would go a long way to cut down the problems of disruption and improve the teacher/pupil relationship. Okay, Harrow County was not perfect but at least there was a range of sports, societies and dramatics which pupils could participate in and even organise themselves right up to sixth form level. (I must get this one in - somebody in my form did start up an origami club but it soon folded ... sorry).
A major omission in the UK system is lack of vocational education. Perhaps Beauty Therapy would come under this category but country wide there is no systematic alternative system to the academic. If you can't be examined in it it's not worthwhile perhaps? I did visit a secondary school in the Loire Valley a few years ago where a French friend of my wife taught. They had a good range of workshops and allotments with greenhouses to work in.
The OGA or other individuals participating in the activities of the school would still be a positive thing. We in the Old Gaytonians (now Harrow) Athletic Club extended the type of relationship we had with the school to cover other schools in the surrounding area. We provide competitions for the schools (which in my days at school teachers were able to promote themselves) as well as coaching. Athletes from Harrow High still reach the English Schools. Using that type of relationship, we have built a young athletes section which ranks in the top 10 (out of 200+) in the UK which means that the output of Harrow and the surrounding area (Rusilip/Northwood/Bushey) can match clubs that draw from the major conurbations such at the West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester.
So yes, we can make a difference in helping pupils achieve their potential.
However, the league tables rear their ugly head here. Once pupils approach their GCSE's and at time of their A levels participation levels drop significantly. Perhaps there is a type of paranoia here and schools do not dare let their pupils loose a millisecond of teaching time. In the Harrow County days nobody thought anything about taking time off for a sports fixture, to rehearse for a play or even come out of class to listen to a School Debate in the New Hall.
The problem with sports, and probably with other activities, is that it is hard to "recruit" after about the age of 15 even though pupils are still developing physically and emotionally. However, statistically the mid to late teens are actually the age group which are most likely (almost twice as much in fact) to carry on these activities into their adult lives. Less than 10% of those below the age of 15 still participate by the time they are 20. This statistics is perhaps not surprising as sixth form pupils are probably at a level of maturity to make their life choices academically and non academically.
No, the School is not what it was. But then it never has been. I’ve been through
this before but the ephemera of the Guestbook, as they are to all but the most
diligent re-readers, are quickly forgotten. The first generation under brilliant
innovator and educationist Ernest Young (who saw many of his first flowering
wiped out in WW1), of which my father was one 1918-1922, scorned the soft,
socially aspirational Randall Williams. His generation adored him – and all too
many of them were killed in WW2.
Randall’s generation loathed “Square” Simpson, whose relentless pursuit of excellence brought astonishing academic achievement. I was of his era and, although I was not one of the achievers, I revelled in being part of one of the very highest academic institutions in the country. I also basked in the traditions laid down by Young and Williams.
My generation and others rued the “weakness” of Roy Avery, yet he was a kindly man, wiser than he has been given credit for, who maintained the academic standards of Simpson in a new, liberated social climate. He did have the remarkable George Cowan at his side and they made a great team. Then came the cataclysm of Harold Wilson and the destruction of something very special for the sake of socialist dogma. It was not helped by a resentful local authority introducing tertiary education, which topped and tailed the School.
We all grieved, the earlier generations, but we had sunk our own differences over regime and philosophical changes in the past to take pride in being Old Gaytonians, recognise the merits of others and cherish our heritage. When the tough and very different Harry Hull took over the reins (at a time of great personal tragedy) we gave him our support. I don’t remember it being articulated at the time, but I suppose we felt we had no option; an old boys association has no future without a school. Be that as it may, we did maintain our close association with the School and, although there were fewer – and different – achievers we did rejoice in people like England test cricketers Angus Fraser and Mark Ramprakash.
In the darkest days, by no means the fault of subsequent heads, the School faced oblivion. Then came another extraordinary and powerful man, Martin Buck. His will, his energy, his connections, his clarity of thought turned the School round. It took six years; then he went on to face one more challenge.
The inheritor of this newly sound and secure institution was Christine Lenehan – a woman, for God’s sake! (How some early Old Gaytonians must have turned in their graves.) But one of the Governors who interviewed all the candidates told me privately that she was far and away the outstanding one. And so it has proved.
Christine has brought exceptional personal charm to the post, coupled with the pastoral talents of Randall Williams, the clarity of vision of Martine Buck, the zeal for excellence of Simpson and the energy and commitment of all three – not to mention Ernest Young. There is also a well-concealed toughness there – there has to be. I flinched with her at Laurence Lando’s first onslaught and I discerned legitimate astonishment in Steve Campbell’s response. Laurence replied to that with, “I feel that my letter was an accurate reflection the feelings of the OGs who took the time and trouble to visit the site of a once great school,” which not only failed to accord with my own feelings of the occasion and with those of many others I spoke to but seemed to be an impertinent assumption on the basis of, perhaps, one or two views expressed to – or perhaps elicited by – him.
Laurence also said, in his first contribution, “I do hope we continue to meet yearly, with affection for the past and tolerance for the present.” Well, amen to that – up to a point. I hope “tolerance” will yield to respect and admiration – even affection. I didn’t go to the reunion just to meet my own generation but to meet Old Gaytonians of all generations. I did, and I enjoyed meeting them and I hope I will again.
I am delighted that my comments have sparked a fruitful discussion on the present and future educational & social objectives of the current school, and the role of the OGA.
I hope to respond in a more comprehensive manner once opinions have been aired. Suffice it to say, that it seems that we are agreed that scholastic excellence is no longer possible in a school with an ethnic mix that exists in Harrow today, despite the millions of pounds being spent by local and central government. I graduated from The Royal London Hospital Medical College, that is situated in the most ethnic part of London's East End; and return there to see, with delight, a large percentage of students from all ethnic groups studying to become our nation's future doctors and dentists. My hope is that one day I might even greet a young undergraduate from HHS.
Regarding the discussion about the relative values of this current school as against the old one - I think that we have to accept that the Harrow of today is a million miles away from the Harrow of the 40's 50's and 60's. The schools are driven by the requirements of their pupils and of society.
The only person who has actual 1st hand knowledge of both schools 1st hand is Assistant Head Teacher Steve Campbell a contemporary of mine.
I think that the discussion has far less to do with the school/s specifically; and more if any with the way education has evolved over the last half century. Sure let's discuss education if that is what is required but to denigrate HHS at the expense of HCS is surely missing the point. HHS is working hard as a school in the 21st century and what ever subjects may be taught in a co-education school must by definition be different to those taught in a post war boys grammar school headed by a single minded and possibly arrogant head (1946- 1965)Girls may want beauty treatments to be taught. I have 2 teen age daughters in private school and know 1st hand that that subject is often sought by girls who are not academically inclined. They can make a success of this career just as much as by studying ancient Greek. We can use this forum to wallow in the nostalgia of the oppressed old days where cold showers and brutal treatment were supposed to be character forming or we can support or merely just understand the ethos of 2 generations further on. I for one enjoy returning to the old school to see my contemporaries but also enjoy the new generations utilising the building for their education. Would it be preferred that the building nearly had been torn down? I think not.
I very much agree with the tone of Min Vincent’s posting and the practical suggestion he makes is entirely in line with the OG’s objectives quoted by Geoff Spring (‘To foster and encourage the development and pursuit of sporting, social and cultural activities for pupils and former pupils of the schools’). I have already taken far too much space on this site (‘Now and Then’) to need to elaborate much further, but we really ought to remember that time has moved on and that the make-up of the present school reflects the Harrow that now exists; and not the place of 50 years ago. Laurence’s approach reminds me of the poll findings last week that so shocked some of the present Tory party: in answering the simple question ‘Is the UK better now than it was 30 years ago?”, Tory voters responded overwhelmingly negatively, and yet the professional and middle classes of the country voted exactly the other way. This is why they can’t win elections anymore. It is entirely right and proper (and fun!) to celebrate what we had, and to meet up and share the memories and discuss anything we like: it’s been wonderful re-connecting and making new friends as well as re-kindling old friendships. But if we connect to the present school – as the OG’s do – it has to focus on thoughts of giving, and on helping out if at all possible. And on acknowledging the simpe fact that the present school leadership is clearly doing their damndest – and doing it well – to serve the community in which the school is now located. We owe it to them.
both a former pupil of HCS and a current teacher I will add my views to the
melting pot. In my day, HCS took an already highly selective group of boys and
pushed some of them out the other end to universities - with a primary
concentration on Oxford/Cambridge entry, a secondary one on other scholarships
and exhibitions, and a tolerance of those going towards other "lesser"
universities. Those of us who didn't fit this mould, despite being capable of
going to a university with the appropriate support, were effectively discarded
by the system of the day - and had to obtain success under their own steam after
leaving school. The fact that I was awarded a first class BA (Hons) after
leaving school simply proves the point, I could have and should have been
encouraged to get to a university while I was at HCS.
Nowadays, many schools are obsessed with the league tables - especially the one based on 5 x GCSE C or higher grades. My ordinary state comprehensive school is in the top 1000 nationally, achieving 75% or so success using this measure. But what about the other 25%? My school has an intake of almost 100% white middle class students, with zero using English as a second language. As a teacher, what gives more satisfaction do you think - sausage machining as many as possible to higher grade GCSEs, or taking a student of low ability to a relatively major success of maybe an F grade GCSE?
Now consider Harrow High School, which is almost the total opposite to mine in terms of student intake. They can never compete with my school in terms of the current league tables because we are not comparing like with like - just as we should not try to compare HCS with HHS. The staff at HHS have to be realistic and determine what success means. The fact that Ofted recognise an improving school shows they are doing some things better than before, for which they should be applauded. A lot of money has been spent on the school in recent years, a lot more than on HCS while I was there. Obviously HHS want to move up the league tables, but this might not be the Head's primary concern at present where everyone leaving with a good command of the English Language might be higher up the list as well as an understanding and pride in their own and other people's cultures and having had opportunities to try out many different activities while at the school. Teaching nowadays is to take the students you get and get as many as you can to realise - or exceed - their potential in the five years you have them. This might be 5+ x C grade GCSEs and on to college, or it might be something else because not everyone can get over this hurdle. I cannot comment on what behaviour and cooperation (which is essential if learning is to take place) are like at the school other than not seeing any problems when I visited the school during term time when setting up the 2001 reunion of stagehands. However this might be another focus area.
Now to the former students. Many want the current students to understand the history of the school they are occupying. The presence of Alex in the school building using up valuable space and some activities involving the school's history shows a mutual desire for this. OK there are some hiccups when teachers do not understand the significance of 1914-1918... Others, like me, are interested in helping out at a practical level to get serious dramatics going again - if the school are interested in doing so.
To wrap up - Alex is in the school and has a finger on its pulse. There is a large community of former students in electronic or other contact who may be interested in supporting the current school in one way or another. Alex needs to look out for these opportunities and let us know so we can support an idea if we want, physically or financially. At the same time the school needs to tell him of their desires or aspirations where former students may be able to help.
That's my tuppence worth! I hope it reads alright,
Peter Vincent, HCS 1966-1972
It appears I have opened a Pandora's box of hyperbole about the present function
of the school and the OGA. Many thanks for Geoff's full response to my missive.
Perhaps he would care to inform us as to the way in which the OGA policy was
formulated. Does he and the OGA agree with the current Head, that the 'only
similarity is the site on which the schools stand'?
My point of reference was the attitude of the OGs who actually attended the recent reunion. The negative reaction to 'beauty therapy classes' in the Sixth Form balcony' was palpable.
It is acknowledged that the present school and education authority in Harrow is dealing with an altogether different set of circumstances in education. May I suggest that the school and OGA examine the paradigm shift that has occured and not have such a knee-jerk reaction to my objective comments. Perhaps other OGs from the days of HCS, who have visited the school may care to comment.
I hope that this discussion is constructive in its approach to the present school and its Head/Deputy. That is the intention, and a way in which we can all participate. Just because Geoff doesn't agree with me, doesn't make my opinion any less valuable, after all it is 'Worth not Birth'.
However the world has moved on, the School has adapted and the Association is adapting. The Association Executive sees its future role as:
To maintain the interest of the Association & former pupils of the Schools in matters affecting the life of Harrow High School.
The Schools are Harrow County School for Boys, Gayton High School and Harrow High School.
To foster and encourage the development and pursuit of sporting, social and cultural activities for pupils and former pupils of the schools
To publish and circulate "The Old Gaytonian"
To sustain and strengthen the bond of fellowship among former pupils of the Schools by giving them opportunities of communicating electronically and meeting in social re-unions
To collect, maintain and make available the archives of the Schools and of the Old Gaytonians Association.
To celebrate and communicate to of the members of Schools, Association, Old Gaytonians and the General Public the achievements of the School, its Pupils, the Association and its Members.
Harrow High School is, in a vibrant and relevant way, providing education to the young people in Harrow.The Association sees part of its role is to support the School in its striving for and achieving excellence.
Addendum Perhaps we should add Harrow County School for Boys to this website's Obituary Column? A line can then be drawn in the sand, and an entirely different School site be instigated for HHS. That would appeal to the current Head and her Deputy. We could then all agree that there is nothing at all to share, except AB's archives, and even though those are housed in the oldest part of the building, have little meaning/significance to the present incumbents, both staff and pupils.
'The only thing the two schools have in common is the site'.
It is with regret, that HCS for Boys, or its modern equivalent is no longer on the site. This much I agree with the Head and her Deputy of HHS.
That the present institution has received a favourable inspector's report is to be applauded, especially as so much public money has been spent on the current school.
I cannot agree that to visit the school during a Parent's evening would alter my, and other OGs, evident dismay, that HHS has aborted its heritage from HCS.
Perhaps the Head would like to comment how many pupils now go on to work in the professions after leaving the school and passing either A Level or the IB. But perhaps these are not the questions to ask of HHS?
If, as the Head of HHS, states the schools only common factor is the site, perhaps the OGA should reconsider its position viz a viz future funding.
In conclusion I object to the nature and tone of the response from the head of HHS. I am perfectly entitled to raise pertinent issues of quality and excellence. Indeed I feel that my letter was an accurate reflection the feelings of the OGs who took the time and trouble to visit the site of a once great school.
Despite my recorded critisisms of HGS, I note its sporting and scholarly prowess for more than 50 years. The response of the Head and her Deputy shows little or no respect for past successes. I doubt I am alone in this conclusion.
Laurence J Lando
Six of the best for Laurence Lando! But is it not, I wonder, a bum rap? In terms of content, at any rate, I see little or no difference between Laurence's remarks and those of his chastisers. Both agree that HCS is long gone and its ethos with it. Laurence's tone, I grant, was surprisingly wistful: he seems to think that something baby-like got tossed out with all the bathwater, though he doesn't quite say what. At our age we are prone to nostalgia, but I should have thought that much on this web site, some of Laurence's contributions included, was a salutary corrective to that as regards HCS. Good riddance to the "highly selective, largely monocultural 11-18 boys Grammar school," say I. Recent events suggest that "comprehensive, co-educational and multicultural" -- and, I would add, secular -- are highly desirable, if not essential, characteristics of education in modern Britain. "Positive, caring and inclusive" sound good too. But I do think that there is room on this web site, as I hope there would be at HHS, for Laurence in all his moods.
Response to Laurence Lando
I refer to your posting on the Old Gaytonians website 20 July 2005. Christine Lenihan, Headteacher of Harrow High School and I regret the tone and content of your email.
You were misinformed that the balcony area is to be used as a Beauty Therapy teaching area. This course will be taught to a number of our pupils and others within Harrow LEA at a specialist site in Stanmore.
Your comment that "the ethos has long gone and the only heart-beat is that of the returning OGs" denigrates the efforts of a proud and thriving community of more than 700 pupils as well those of some 50 teachers and a large number of support and admin staff. You are most welcome to make an appointment to see Harrow High School at work in the new term. You may even wish to attend the school's Open Evening for prospective parents in late September. After your visit you will then be in a position to make an informed judgement on the school. Feel free to read the school's Ofsted report following our last inspection 18 months ago. You will read many good things about the school, including praise for the positive, caring and inclusive ethos it has.
You will see a much different school to the one you attended. HCS was a highly selective, largely monocultural 11-18 boys Grammar school that closed in the mid 1970s. Harrow High School opened in 1998 and is proud to be a 12 -16 fully comprehensive, co-educational and multicultural high school. To draw comparisons seems rather unnecessary as you are comparing 2 completely different institutions. The only thing the 2 schools have in common is the site.
You may also want to reflect on the purpose of an Old Boys Association. Does it provide sporting and social opportunities, the chance to reminisce with friends old and new and a force for good for current pupils or is it a forum for some to carp and complain in the public domain?
The Old Gaytonians have been very generous in providing prizes for academic and sporting achievement as well as funding a number of major purchases for the music department. Long may these positive contributions benefit pupils at Harrow High School.
Christine Lenihan Headteacher
Steve Campbell Assistant Headteacher
May I add my congratulations to Alex for all his efforts last Saturday, and indeed for all the work he does to keep the flame alive. It is with this in mind that I have to raise a topic that is not very PC. When we were told by Alex that the Sixth Form balcony was now used to teach 'beauty therapy', you could hear the assembled OGs sigh with disbelief. The problem is not that the school building is so changed, that it is quite difficult to find one's way around via the H&Safety doors, but the character of the school is now so different, that it is no longer, in my opinion, able to fly the flag of the Grammar School that once existed on the site. I have commented on the failings of the school in its HGS mode, especially the gratuitous violence from masters to boys. What was there is no more, and I mourn its passing. That HHS may be a pioneer as a Sports School is well and good, but the ethos has long gone and the only heart-beat is that of the returning OGs. To that effect, I do hope we continue to meet yearly, with affection for the past and tolerance for the present.
At the risk of sounding like everyone else, may I say what fun I had on Saturday too? I was particularly pleased to see so many fellow-starters from 1966, as well as Michael Schwartz and Mr John Ling (who sadly had to dash). I said to Jonathan Braude afterwards that I would so like to be in contact again with fellow-66er Graham Bridger. Anyone know where he is, please? I've passed on news of the day to Mark Blazek, Paul Kutner and Graham Wells (also '66), and to Jacek Strauch, a '65er now in Austria. I was particularly intrigued to learn more about what used to go on backstage, and in various lofts and secret passageways of the school. Alex's archive is great; any fingermarks on the Gaytonian (magazine) files are mine, I'm afraid. As for donating school-uniform to the museum, I'm still wearing mine.
OK, to test the water at the HHS end, I have fired the following email off the to Head just now...PV<BR> #########################<BR> For attention of Christine Lenihan, Headteacher Christine, back in 2001 you may remember that I organised a reunion of stagehands from previous generations of the school? Afterwards you indicated that you had a vision of getting the school back into putting full productions on, and might ask for help from former students? We had a smaller reunion this past weekend, and several of use felt a little depressed looking at the stage and its relatively run down state, not really ready to do serious theatre. <BR><BR> Obviously this is your stage now, but there are several former students (mostly "boys" of course) who are still involved in dramatics at a serious level, particularly on the technical side. The stage still has potential, and could have better facilities than many venues around with a little TLC. <BR><BR> Would HHS be interested in putting on an ambitious production in a year or so, supported by a technical team made up of former students? I presume the performing side would be all HHS, with the technical management provided by former students possibly supported by interested teachers and some older (ideally over 16) current students. <BR><BR> If you are interested in principle to explore the suggestion further, I presume led by the Head of Drama when she is back in school, please let me know. We are offering, so it is up to HHS if they are interested in looking at the possibilities. <BR><BR> Best regards -- Peter Vincent, ICT Teacher and <BR>Lighting Designer, Basingstoke <BR>Harrow County School for Boys, 1966-1972
Thank you very much to all those who travelled to the school on Saturday, it really was good to see you all, although I did not talk to as many as I would have liked. I was disappointed not to see more OGA members there, but very pleased to see so many non-OGA at the event. Thank you also to all those who have emailed me or left messages on the site. Kepp em coming! Seriously, do consider sending me your thoughts or putting them on the site. All feedback will be noted and incorporated in future events. With regards a couple of the postings, the school do not do a great deal in the way of stage productions now, I think maybe only two three or four day plays each year, and then not always to a paying audience. The current drama teacher is expecting so I don't know how that will effect things over the next few months (we break up for the summer this Friday). I do know that she was looking at installing a new lights set up, and as you might have seen, some work has been done on the stage (such as covering over the trap, and building a room under the old lights tower). How much of this was health and safety or on going inprovements I don't know. I shall write more in a day or so, but one other point was that of Mins. I still have the school trophies (although they were never in a dustbin!!!) They are kept in lockable storage boxes. I was thinking of having them on display on Saturday, but already had the cabinet in particular (in the foyer) filled with a display. Over the last couple of years I have suggested that the OGA donate some new trophies as the originals are quite valuable due to age and quality. As a result, the OGA gives two awards for the best boy and girl pupil (generally the Head boy and girl) for overall achievement, two more (in the name of the late Tony Rhoades) for Sporting achievement, as well as a donation to their yearbook, and for 2005 a new English Prize. If there are former cadets out there of the c-1975 period, they might be able to answer a question. Where have all the CCF trophies gone? I have not been able to find any in the school, and there were around 27, certainly up to the late 60s/early 70s. Were they given out around 1975 and 'lost' with the change to Gayton High?
Min, I do believe that the school has done some drama. See http://www.harrow-high.harrow.sch.uk/Govpar03.PDF page 3 where they certainly did something in 2003. They are also offering stage managment and stagecraft in the prospectus. I still like your idea of offering some expertise and experience to a new generation..... Richard Bunt
I forgot to thank Alex for last week's Gaytonian day. By the way Alex, when I visited the archive in 2001 you had a dustbin full of the old trophies which used to be in the New Hall. Did you manage to get the school to readopt any of them? PV
As one of Harry's band of stagehands I felt depressed at the continued dilapidation of the stage we loved (maybe we should rename it "the ruins"!). I was wondering... If we could persuade the school to develop a production for the stage, such as a drama workshop over the summer holidays, could we get a stage crew together to provide the technical side? Timescale approx +1 year? Before I approach the school to see if they might be interested, do I have any previous stagecrew (stage, lights, sound, props, costumes, etc) interested in principle, particularly any who live locally? Volunteer on this forum if interested, as well as contributing any ideas of your own. If there is an interest and enough volunteers, we will need to do a proper feasibility study to see what we need to do to get the stage back into life again before we go too far down the tracks - subject to interference from Harrow Council of course! PV
Delighted to read the event went off so well. Congratulations Alex! I was sorry not to be able to be there. Is it possible that a list of those attending can be produced?
Another "Well done!" to Alex for a splendid Gaytonian Day. I know how hard you worked on it, Alex, with all too little help, and it was a credit to your determination to make a success of it. Glad that Dianne was there to help, and Denis Barker,and a few engaging and willing pupils. The displays were excellent, as always. Particularly enjoyed meeting Roy Goldman, for the first time, over from Australia, although we have struck a long-standing correspondence by e-mail thanks to the website. Also good to meet Michael Schwartz (and his tie!), having enjoyed his Guestbook contributions and availed myself of his writings when I edited the Magazine. Also a lot of younger members, including some of Alex's mates and a cheerful group who lunched first at a local pub. As to future Gaytonian Days, I guess drink is out of the question, although I think it would add considerably to the conviviality. The Day probably needs a focus such as a short stage show, although the tour of the School for first-timers will always rank high, as will the tortuous visit to Alex's eyrie to view the excellent archive. Whatever the focus, it whopuld never be forgotten that the real delight on these occasions is meeting old friends and making new ones. I'll brood a bit more on what might be added or what else might be done, but I do think it should be an annual event so that it becomes a regular fixture; any less frequent and it could slip away from us between gatherings .
One more expression of thanks to Alex for all his hard work on Saturday. It was really good to meet Peter Fowler at long last, not to mention the 1966 crew and the 1960s classicists such as Messrs Egan and Robinson (Boris Major). Michael.
Full marks to the organisers of last Saturday's HCS 'Open Day', especially Alex Bateman. His conducted tour was most enlightening, especially - as my near namesake Mr Bunt has said in his Guest Book entry - the ascent of the iron spiral staircase (which I never knew existed) to what is now the archive room. I struck up a lively conversation with surely the oldest of Old Gayts present, 89-year-old Ron Stiff, who attended HCS from 1927 - 1934. He is an exact contemporary of my uncle Stan Clark, who would have come with me on Saturday but was in hospital for a minor 'waterworks' operation. Both their names appear in the 1932 HCS Book of Commemoration under the listing for Form 5 of that year. Rather amazingly Ron today lives in a flat in Gayton Court, just across the road from the school he attended 78 years ago. It was sobering to wander round the HCS site and try to pinpoint just where the sports pavilion and the swimming bath used to be. What a concrete monstrosity on the swimming bath site! How was planning permission possibly granted by the London Borough of Harrow?
Regarding last Saturdays open day/reunion I just wanted to add my appreciation for the hard work that Alex Bateman undertakes in keeping the archives and in hosting the open day. I didn't fully appreciate what he did until we were invited to "ascend the spiral staircase". Alex you are appreciated by every one who attended and those who just see your work on the web site. For me it was good to meet up with Messrs Danon,Dew,Vincent,Braude & Graham being the class of '66 contingent who made it. It was a good day worth coming to and again we all appreciate the organisation behind it. Richard Bunt
Just a note to thank Alex Bateman for all he did at the 16 July reunion. It was the first time I'd met him and I'd assumed, in my usual slipshod manner, that he was a sad old git like the rest of us. I left full of admiration for his dedication and commitment; and, having a sneak at those impressive archives along with the rest of the 'tour party', realised that the huge success of this Web Site is down to the very happy coincidence of having Jeff's fantastic achievements (for us!) over there in NYC, combined with the careful and enthusiastic work of Alex back at the old home base. Thanks!
I was sitting with a friend in a pub in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and we got to talking about our schools in England. He mentioned getting an "A" level in "British Constitution" and I said I only knew one school that taught that subject - Harrow County. We discovered we both went there. "I nearly got expelled for painting "SQUARE" on the school roof" he told me, "It wasn't my first offence - I and my mates rolled the cricket roller down the school corridor. We were aiming to squash Marchant but we couldn't find him". To say the least the conversation gave me a new insight into my boss!!!!
Gaytonian events: One
Judging from the volume of e-mail, attendance at the reunion on Saturday will be far, far greater than the original thirty who said yes. For those who have not heard yet, the Gaytonian Day reunion is on Saturday July 16th from 12.00pm t 5.00pm at the school.
Gaytonian events: Two
Cadillac Blues, featuring, among others, Old Gaytonians Coll Michaels and Kim Rew are performing on Saturday July 23rd at 9.00pm at The Sportsman, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts.
Gaytonian events: Three
Those who remember "Convergence" - the joint Dramatic Society of Harrow County Boys School and Harrow County Girls School in the late 1960s will remember Madeleine Pratt - now known as Madeleine Howard, who is appearing at the Finborough Theatre on Sunday and Monday evenings between July 24th and August 8th. Click here for details.
To all Old Gayts attending the Gaytonian Day reunion on the 16th July. Due to the low response to pre-paid lunches, I'm afraid that this option has now been cancelled. So those wishing so, please do not send any more cheques to me. There are several local places to eat and I will have details on the day. Look forward to seeing you all there
Great to see pictuers of all my old classmates
So in 1957, I was the short fat fella with glasses; I am still he, so you will be able to recognise me! Hope to see all the mates from 1957 entry to 1964 exit. Laurence
From the responses that I have seen to e-mails, I believe that there are very many more than thirty coming to the Gaytonian Day reunion at the school on Saturday July 16th 12.00pm to 5.00pm. Some people are coming in groups or arranging to meet their contemporaries. If you are in touch with your contemporaries, please make some phone calls, send e-mails and spread the word!
What we need right now - and that means right now - are a few volunteers to help out on the day. People who can come a little early and help set up and clear up; people who can help man a desk for part of the day to collect names and addresses of attendees, etc. Anyone who can help should e-mail Alex Bateman at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apologies for carping about the food when the main problem seems to be getting the 'chaps' committing to attend the meeting. I do hope to meet many of OGs, both in my 'attendance years' and others, where we can learn what it was like then and now. Laurence
I appreciate the comments about the food offered for the Gayts Day. I have had comments asking for about 7 different things ranging from Curry to Beef to Salad to sandwiches. I am already doing 11 different jobs connected with this day, despite specifically asking for someone to concentrate on the catering and meals for the day. At the moment I have has less than 30 people confirming their attendance and less than half that number confirming lunch. If more enthusiasm is shown for the event a wider range of fare would be offered.
Extremely comprehensive website and very interesting. An amazing nostalgic experience for me (now aged 83).
News from today's Harrow Observer: Harrow High is one of six schools in the borough that which will open a sixth form in September 2006. The others are Bentley Wood (the former Heriot's Wood), Hatch End High (Blackwell), Nower Hill (Headstone), Rooks Heath (Roxeth Manor) and Whitmore (Lascelles). This is being funded by the Learning and Skills Centre. Staff at Harrow College in Lowlands Road and Brookshill (the former Harrow County Girls and Harrow Weald Grammar sites) helped develop the new set up and applied for the funding. A survey by the Harrow Education Authority had found that only 62% going onto post 16 education went to the colleges in Harrow, the rest went out of the borough. Apart from Harrow College, the other Harrow colleges are Elm Park in Stanmore and St. Dominics on Harrow Hill. Quite a number of children also go out of the borough for state secondary education partly because of the lack of sixth forms but also because of the transfer age from middle schools being a year later than in most other education authorities. Some go to Haydon (the former St. Nicholas and St. Mary's) in Northwood, Watford Grammar and St. Joan of Arc in Rickmansworth. The Harrow catholic schools, Salvatorian College and Sacred Heart already take in pupils at the "standard" age of 11. So Harrow High will once again have a sixth form, nearly 30 years after the last sixth formers "filtered out" in 1977.
I do hope to attend the grand Reunion and will travel a fair way to get there. The food I will gladly miss; what's wrong with a good summer salad? Don't hurry for a curry...
Couldn't agree more with you Phil. The thought of bland minced beef and beans does not get me salivating although if I lived a bit closer I would likely attend the event anyway despite the native food.
It's been quiet lately and I am disturbed over the apparent lack of interest in "Mild Meat Chili" @ £7.50. Why MILD? Chili Con Carne is México's gift to the world, apart from tomatoes, "potatoes" per an infamous US Veep, and avocados. Those wimps down in Texas like their Tex-Mex food which might not have made the hit-list in the "British Restaurant" in Harrow about 1946 or so, due to being disturbingly "mild". Liven up! Have a real Chili contest. Those cunning little peppers have such a fascinating flavour if used properly, and if it's a little too powerful, a little slice of orange will put your head back on. Change the menu to REAL chili and charge £8.50.
Having studied the photograph of Northwick Cock house taken in 1953, I identify myself as being the 9th person from the left [as viewed] in the 3rd row from the back. It has evoked q few memories, both good and bad, looking through the various photo's. There are a few faces I recognise as in messrs Hoadley, Waller and Jackson, would be nice to hear from you guys.
Pupil from 1951 to 1955 [V(2)] CCF Naval section 1952 to 1955 Left to join The New Zealand Shipping Co. Ltd. as Engineer Cadet.
Can I urge all those wishing to attend the Gaytonian reunion to let me know. ESPECIALLY if you require lunch. Response to this has been poor with many saying that friends wish to come. Payment for lunches (despite promises) has been EXTREMELY bad, so much so there is a possibility that the option of lunch will be cancelled if I hear little more. Thanks
My step-father Stanley Turnbull, who taught at your school, has recently suffered a heart attack. He was home within the week complete with pacemaker and is now recovering gently.
David Triggs attended HCS in the 1955-1962 timeframe. I would greatly appreciate any information about how he may be reached today.
Much of the spam directed to me from west Africa is now filtered out but I am beginning to detect a flow of similar material from the UK. the pitch remains the same but some of it is very creative.
Yes, Jeff, it's the old post hoc or propter hoc (sorry, your site doesn't permit italics for the Latin terms), in other words, after something or because of something. I got plenty of Nigerian and other scam mail long before the website and as a not infrequent contributor to the guestbook under my own e-mail address I've not noticed any increase in incidence of junk e-mail following a contribution. I should say to Brian and Laurence it's probably coincidence, i.e merely post hoc. The nearest to cause an effect is likely to be that someone who happens to have a trojan (or something) has got in touch with them following their entry and passed on his infection. I'm well aware of, and grateful to you, for the time and diligence - not to say rigour - you put into the website, Jeff, and I hope all will appreciate the patience with which you deal with these minor criticisms. As someone who has done a bit for the Old Gayts over the years, I empathise with everyone still doing something and getting such advice as, "What you want to do is . . ." Sometimes the advice is excellence; more often it is a further demand on your already stretched time and resources. The response, "That's a good idea. Why don't you take it on/suggest how it might be done/organise some support?" rarely bears fruit. (This last bit is not aimed at Brian and Laurence, by the way, I suspect Jeff would rather run the whole thing himself. However, Jeff, if I'm wrong in that you could always invite help and assistance . . . )
Brian and Laurence, All postings to this guestbook are monitored. Each posting creates an e-mailed alert so that it can be checked. All spam is cleaned out every few days. All addresses that are posted to the website are edited to read something like nameNOSPAMREMOVETHIS@isp.com. In addition, a couple of dummy e-mail accounts which I control have been left alive on the guestbook, so that if there is a spate of Nigerian spams, I can monitor the extent of the problem. In addition to all this, Brian, the e-mails that were sent out to publicise the forthcoming Gaytonian Day reunion, were sent out quite independently from the website and were private e-mails. The addresses could not have fallen into the hands of Nigerian spammers. (unless, of course, one of your former school friends has passed your e-mail address on to the Nigerians!). I don't think that this e-mail can be the source of your spam. The reason that the e-mails show each other's addresses - i.e. they are not on blind copy, is that so many people wrote asking me to do just that, so that they could contact old friends. Unfortunately, we are unable to control all the spam, although we do take reasonable precautions. You can write yourself a "message rule", telling your e-mail program to move all e-mails with words such as "lagos" or "sierra leone" etc. into the junk mail folder, so that you don't have to see them. Jeff Maynard
I echo Brian's remarks. The following entry was a master blaster of spam. I too enjoy the website, but it needs policing, as I ahve said on a previous missive.
Hi Jeff As I advised last year when you sent around your invitations for the annual do, its most inadvisable to publish everyones addresses in the email header as you are doing. Its no small coincidence that , Having received this years mail, i am now being spammed by Nigerian conmen as happened last year. I also point out that this was reported by several old boys a few years back in the guest book. So please a) remove me from your mailing list b) tighten up your procedures
Stumbled across your school website a few days ago. No I was never a pupil at HCS, I was doing some research, as I am interested in the history of school uniforms and have a friend who has a unique collection of said items. I have had a fascinating read and came back for more, and am something of an intruder. But I thank all the people for taking time and trouble to recollect their accounts at school, some good, some bad. I was at a comprehensive school in E17 north east London from 1965 until 1972. So at 11 (when the school was secondary) was classified by the authorities as a failure!? The local grammar school for me would have been then St Ignatious in Stamford Hill. It was until 1967 run by Jesuits then transfered to London Borough of Enfield. My godmother scared me witless (her son was leaving the VI form in 1970) about the brutality of the masters. They used leather tawes called "ferula" on sore palms. Boys would get a punishment slip, and they would have the rest of the week, to report to punishment room, at the end of school day, for "X number of ferules applied to the hands for the greater glory of God). Now for whatever reason I did not gain entry into that school. Would I have coped OK? Hard to tell, as another lad at the school a year or two older than me, reckons I would have had a hard time from boys and masters. Did not make much difference as I had a terrible time in the secondary later comprehensive, and was bullied mercilessly. I won't go into that suffice to say, it still hurts me to this day that such cruelty existed and I had to suffer! As for the discipline, it was not much different to that at GCH. I think many of your ex-students, failed to appreciate that slipper (often from sportsmaster),cane, and blackboard duster were common punishments in schools of the era. I don't doubt that some teachers at HCS over the years may have been excessive. Well in some ways, I pulled through and made something of my life, and it was not all bad. But it has been facinating dipping into, the often detailed and crafted accounts of many former boys at the school most of you attended. I found some of the accounts very moving, and I am sure like me you have been affected for the better and sometimes the worse accross the years. My school from what I know has nothing like an ex -pupil association. So nothing like your ability to meet up and chat exists for me or others from my school. Your accounts have in many ways partially flicked back the years, and given a whole insight into your school and what it was like to be there accross the years. In some ways I wish I could roll back the clock and start again, aged 11 in 1965 appx. Would I have fared better at HCS? Would I have made friends? Would any of the older boys so much bigger and stronger taken me under their wing to guide me. By all accounts the latter probably not, it seems HCS junior boys were tossed into a lion's den in first forms. But hard to tell. I dont think there was any pastoral system in any schools then for teacher/pupils and prefects/pupils. Have matters improved today in 2005? My immediate thoughts are that some pupil/teacher relations may be better. Some state schools seem to be ok, but it is a post code lottery, and some schools are dreadful. Shame on successive governments for getting it so wrong! As for bullying, it it still as prevalent today as it may have been at HCS and my north east London school. Far too many of todays children still suffer misery in school, and the authorities at the end of the day do as little about it then as in my time. Thanks for hearing me out, I know this has been a long account. I wanted to share something of me with you, in return for what insights many of you gave me. Had I been at HCS at some point, then I would have known some of you, but I wasn't so I don't. By and large a lot of your students went on to achieve things in life, some doing better than others. I have gone on to make achievements too, and I am sorry if I sound unforgiving and a little bitter regarding my schooling. But you have to appreciate my time at school was terrifying, day in and day out from about 1962 - 1970, after which in VI form it got a bit better, like happened to so many lads at HCS. Thanks once again for those memories that you have shared openly and thanks to visitors of this guestbook, taking time and trouble to read the ramblings of me a stranger to HCS. Though amazingly, the Internet and the web, in part makes me feel I know some of you a bit. I spend a bit of my time as editor and feature writer on a television history web site,Transdiffusion. This is essentially an hard written/photo/video/DVD archive of TV presentation material (announcers, studio clocks, ITA/IBA opening tunes and testcards), dating back to the BBC and ITV as it emerged in the 1950's. I am sure some of you recall earlier stations London such as Rediffusion-London on Channel 9, and ATV-London at the weekends. If you want to check out more for nostalgia or historical interest the link is: www.transdiffusion.org/emc and the section I edit is www.transdiffusion.org/emc/screens. Well its been a long post but that is it for now. I did not want to end on a negative note. So like all of us I have had some ups and downs and have opinions on my education and schooling. Some good and some bad. But I have come through it at least with an ability to write, inform, educate and entertain others, at least a little bit, so its not all bad. Kindest Regards - David B in East Anglia PS You are welcome to visit the web site or write to me via e-mail, if you have the time and inclination.
Hi All Can I draw your attention to the Gaytonian Day on July 16th? The full details are on the main page, but those wishing to come and have lunch can I remind you to have cheques to me by July 8th. You will be sent a lunch ticket but I need to know how mnay we have so I can inform the caterers. Also, I'd appreciate knowing who is coming so I have an idea of numbers. Thanks
After many years I have only just ventured onto the Internet. I have always been amazed how often I come across Old Gaytes. I am a little speechless. Maybe I will try again later
Ask Bob Geldorf to block the growing menace of spam on this website, and then maybe it will get done?
Colin Mynott's reminiscences bring some thoughts to mind. My last year (1947) was Simpson's first. His performance during the initial year while he adjusted to the wearing of trews instead of the kilt, was fairly benign in relation to later years. He had still to been given the nick name of 'Square'. Two outstanding features of his early behaviour were embodied in his two most common sayings "are you working hard boy?" - he never used a name perhaps because of his myopia - and that just about misdemeanour was "a clear case for corporal punishment". His predelection for using the cane was out of all proportion to the regime of Randall Williams who seldom used the device. All I can contribute in answer to Colin's question about what it was like at other institutions at the time is to point to an incident at Pinner County where the headmaster caned over 70 boys in one afternoon handing out one stroke for each year spent at the school. Not bad going for a school that we always thought rather snobbishly of as down market and effeminate. After all, it's most well known product seems to have been Elton John.
Wonderful site. Stumbled across it by complete accident. Even though I'm not an 'old boy', the contents are fascinating.
I'll 'ave your spam. (E. Idle, 1969)
GAYTONIAN DAY - HELP NEEDED Alex Bateman could really use some help with ‘Gaytonian Day’, the school reunion which will be held at the School on Saturday July 16th 2005 from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. If you can help on the day or even before, by making phone calls to publicise the event, please can you notify Alex Bateman at email@example.com.
Is this the same noxious spam that used to be served up in the canteen?
Looks like we are being targetted with a whole load of noxious spam. Can it be blocked? Spoils the essence of the site
(the spam was removed. Jeff Maynard)
Excellent website. Superb photoarchive. I've found almost every annual Form photo plus many athletic teams. HCS 1956-63.
I currently have a copy of The History of the Harrow County School for Boys for sale on Ebay http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=8308700556&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT and Jeffrey Maynard very kindly suggested I mention it here in case anyone was interested. Can I just say I am very impressed with this website, the volume of material available is astonishing. Although I have no connections with the school, I think I'll be coming back to rummage through the items as they are very interesting.
For those wondering about the previous mention of a Spring 2005 newsletter, it is the newsletter of the Old Gaytonians Association. The OGA also issues a magazine, while a second newsletter is planned for the winter. For details on how to join, click the link on the main page
Hah! How fitting that this guestbook should be spammed by an "online degrees" merchant! Square will be spinning like a top in his grave!
(A url from a spammer offering on-line degrees has been removed)
The upcoming Reunion will make a specific Get-together for the Class of 1957 entry. Would you all try to arrange to be there and perhaps have a class/year photograph arranged. Let Alex know in advance. Laurence
NB - to let Alex know that you can come, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I was sorry to read in the Spring 2005 Newsletter that Robin Ponter had died. I remember that when I found this website he rang me up with the words "We haven't spoken for 53 years" and then told me what had happened to him in those 53 years culminating in a voluntary position at the Stanley Spencer museum at Cookham. I always meant to go and see him there but never did. An opportunity missed! My abiding memory of Robin was that from his build he was the last person you would have suspected as having athletic prospects. Then one day we had a cross country run over the Harrow School fields. Guess who came in first!
Fascinating enjoyed looking at the photos memory not so good with names though!
Message to Richard Buckley (talking behind Michael Scwartz's back) - Sorry if you were offended by my comment. My observation was purely numerical. Michael is the man who many years ago achieved a local council Tory majority of 2 (I think). It seemed a quirk that this time his polled votes were more than the Labour majority. I know it is nonsense to assume that if Michael had not stood that all of his votes would have gone Tory. I only therefore expressed what I thought was a strange quirk of fate. I admire you both for following your convictions so openly and even agree with the central tenet of your parties policies. On a separate note congratulations to Colin Mynott. Being of the Avery era I was lucky enough by the sounds of it to have never met or experienced Simpson. Someone at last not on the staff payroll giving a balanced view! PAUL
More of a note to Richard Buckley - thank you for your words of consolation. I was not offended in any way by Paul's comments. As I mentioned, High Peak was a seat too far for the Conservatives. They would have needed a swing big enough to have lost Tony Blair his majority. They would also have needed to win 65% of the votes I got (735 out of 1106). Take away protest votes, a few personal votes for me, and the task became impossible. I got wonderful support from the local media, which I shall never forget! Enough politics. Michael.
Although perhaps it wasn't the intention, the Gaytonian Day on July 16th will be almost exactly 30 years since Harrow County ceased to be as such. Does anybody have the exact date of the last day of HCS to hand?
Are Paul Phillip's comments on Michael Schwarz's UKIP candidacy meant to be serious? They certainly sound it. As one UKIP candidate to another, I say well done Michael! I can now claim the dubious distinction of being the first OG to stand for Parliament for two different parties and to lose on both occasions. However, I am told that The Guardian's website describes me as 'not currently an MP' so given The Guardian's famous tendency to make mistakes perhaps I should go and have another look at the figures for Cotswold just in case. As my agent said, if you're going to stand for Parliament and be beaten out of sight, what better constituency to stand in than here in Cotswold country.
GAYTONIAN DAY The time for this reunion is 12pm to 5pm. Regarding an earlier posting, I apologise for no Roast Beef. However, this is the first event of its type really at all, and the main object is to get it on the calendar and to gauge interest. At the moment, the whole thing (food, displays, numbers, tours, display material, setting up, etc) is being handled by one person. The same person who is currently writing both the Old Gayts Newsletter AND Magazine, and running the archive. All in spare time. So please bear with it!
Too long since I perused this site I think! Trawled through the decades of reminiscences and surprised to note a message from Mark Walmsley way back last year - from Indonesia, no less. Great memories (or is that mammaries?) of lunchtime forays to the White Hart in somewhat distant Neasden in Mark's car - usually on Friday's before returning for Chemistry practical with Joey Jacobs (in A5 I think it was). Ah those were the days.. Mark was way ahead of the game in music over most of us then - he was up in London on evenings in the proto-punk scene whilst the rest of us wouldnt even have guessed what you could do with safety pins. Dont know if it helped his studies much, though! Sadly the old grey matter is seeming to forget names and faces - still trying to find out what happened to Ms Angela Doublet who taught in the late 70's - any ideas? As for fellow students there seems a lack of info on folk. Can we not have an informal, non-slanderous, Old Boy "where and what" listing - last known/inferred doings and locations? Hope to get to a HCS re-union if I can get enough notice - living out here in Botswana is a tad awkward. Noted comments about Mr Geoerge Cowans amazing ability to remember names of pupils - it really was a gift - I doubt many teachers/heads know half the kids names in their schools (I know the local ones here dont!). As for the comments on the CCF shootng the hovercraft (an old entry I know) I think it was a case of an "accident" waiting to happen. I remember doing a camp at Browndown Army camp, on the coast near Portsmouth, where a time on the firing range led to innocent youths (and we were!) potting the odd round over the butts/targets at vessels far away. I rememer a tanker being moored off-shore - in retrospect it was a crazy thing to do, but to 2nd - 3rd year pupils it didnt seem that stupid. This was before video games of course. There was, I am sure, a safety zone at sea behind the firing range to avoid accidents, so quite how the hovercraft got hit is still a bit of a mystery -but it certainly caused a stir! Callum Kerr
Jeff. Re. GAYTONIAN DAY. Please publish times. Don't like the sound of Lunch. What happened to Roast Beef? Des. 1937-1942
GAYTONIAN DAY - A REUNION EVENT
After many discussions about an annual or bi-annual reunion, the first ‘Gaytonian Day’, will be held at the School on Saturday July 16th 2005. This will be a general reunion, come open day, with displays, tours of the school, and a chance to meet old friends! The event is open to all former pupils, members of staff (and partners), plus any other friends or associates of the school over the years (such as Harrow County Girls School). It will be similar to the 90th anniversary reunion held at the school in 2001 for those who attended that event. So spread the word and make a note in the diary!
Lunch will be available on the day, (paid in advance) at a cost of £7.50 per meal. Options are: Mild Meat Chilli, Rice, Salad and Garlic Bread Or Vegetable Chilli, Rice, salad and Garlic Bread No alcohol will be served on the day, but there is a machine offering soft drinks, while it is intended that tea/coffee and water will be available.
If you require lunch please send a cheque to Alex Bateman, Old Gaytonians Association, c/o Harrow High School, Gayton Road, Harrow, HA2 2JG, no later than July 8th 2005 made payable to ‘The Old Gaytonians Association’, stating clearly which option you would prefer. Whether you wish to partake of lunch or not, please can you notify Alex Bateman if you are intending to come, so that we may have an idea of numbers.
Hello world, It is with a joyful heart that I write this.My eldest daughter is in her final weeks of school here in America and she is 18 tomorrow.That makes me OLD!Well older than some ,but not as old as others............. It has led me to reflect on the days in Harrow at GHS and well all in all they were good.We did get a beating every now and then and more often than not we deserved it.Shit happens.Let me ask this question to you all.As we see the youth of today in a downward spiral with drugs,various social diseases(HIV and others)hardly any education,and in some cases ,no hope,self esteem etc, was HCS/GHS really that bad? True we had some odd folks there,but in the end I am convinced that they were strict,not because of a love to abuse young boys,but because of a love for humanity.I believe that they realised that we were the future of a once proud and great nation and they wanted to see it carry on that way. I remember getting yelled at by one of the masters who at the time I had total contempt for.In fact I would not have gone across the road to pee on him if he were on fire.Now,I must say Thank You as that man turned on the lights for me.During his classes the question of why do we go to school was answered.(In case any of you have not figured that one out yet,the answer is to teach us to think for ourselves and become productive members of society Oh and also to give the teachers a place to hang out for about 10 hours a day as their wives hated them more than we did!! hahahahahah).In fact I called him from America a year ago and Thanked him for a job well done.Yes there are times in our lives where things dont always go our way,but in the end I think that most old boys are pretty sucessful people.I feel priveledged to have gotten an education at Gayton High,as most of the decent teachers were still there when I went there in 1976.Strict yes, abusive maybe, but caring to the pont that they wanted only for us (the rabble) to succeed in life. My first wife died from a drug overdose last year.She dropped out of school here in America when she was 16 with no qualificatins at all.We divorced about 11 years ago and I have raised both of my daughters since 1995.They are bloody wonderful humans and my eldest wants to become a Washington State Trooper in the narcotics division.Her goal to bust as many drug dealers as possible.Without what I learned at GHS about life and being ones own man, I doubt if I would have been the person I am today, and my daughter probably would not either. I own my own business here in the states with my new wife and we are very busy.We sold our xmas tree farm last year and moved our bulb business to Washington State from Oregon. If anyone wants to see what we do go to www.vanveenbulbs.com Wonder whay there is a complete lack of info from around 1976-1980 on the site? ps Does anyone know what happened to Colin Worsnop,Ashley Livingston,Mick Brown, or any other of the guys in E class 1976-1980. Did Mr Sherratt(Shadrack) ever become Archbishop of Hell? hahahahahahahaha Pete Wilson.
I went to one concert at the Harrow Coliseum conducted by Sergant, and to subsequent ones conducted by Muir Matheson, dates not remembered. Regrettably the theatre was too small for gladiatorial contest and in spite of me bringing a cage of lions each time, Square never showed up.
I have recently moved house and, because I must have some squirrel DNA, have gone through the painful process of throwing away (and taking down the charity shops) valuable pieces of history that my wife, who has even more squirrel DNA than me, calls junk. I have managed to hide from her my old school ties. I don't use them for anything, except gathering dust and frightening moths away. The only other thing that is left from my school equipment is my first scalpel. I was neither very good at dissection nor have I pursued a medical career but it was very good at removing the excess plastic from model aeroplane kits!!!
So:1. Joe and Royle - doesn't he manage Ipswich Town now? and 2ndly, whilst making biscuits with my 9 year old daughter last week, I received comments on the faded state of my blue apron whilst in the kitchen. Not unreasonable of course in view that it is the one used for woodwork 37 years ago and is labelled D.Harvey of form 1W. Does anyone else still use regularly a piece of old school uniform?
For Nick Young There was, of course, the obvious example of Arthur (aka Bill) Haley - but he was Bill for obvious reasons. "Roy" Avery came about because the "R" in J.R. Avery stood for "Royle" and he often signed his name as "Roy". Mrs Lane was married to Walter, aka Ubi. It always seemed to be the more aimiable Masters who were generally referred to by their (correct or incorrect) first names - did anyone ever refer to "Bill Bigham" ? Quite a number of these more aimable Masters are still around - the others all seem to have disappeared. Regards EDWARD KERR
I haven't been here for a while, the dystopian nostalgia factor is inimical to mental health if over exposed. However I've just noticed a phenomemon that demands explanation. Masters were naturally referred to by their christian plus surnames as a semi-subversive gesture (George Cowan, Jim Golland, Harry Mees, Ken Waller etc). But in a few (but probably statistically significant cases)the commonly adopted christian name does not concur with retrospective realised reality. For example the two times mayor of Watford (and recent Watford Observer profile subject) Norman Tyrwhitt was always known colloquially as Nick Tyrwhitt. Similarly 'Bill' D'Arcy was always referred to as Geoff D'Arcy. (I got to know Geoff quite well, but can't for the life of me remember which name I used, if any.) Of course the prime example is 'Roy' Joe Avery. Can anyone explain the source of this phenemenon or indeed cite other instances? (I am assuming for example that Mr Lane's wife was legally married to someone with a christian name other than Ubi.)
Hi David. No I dont have a prospectus from that (our) vintage. I don't know how regularly they were issued or changed but I have three from the 50s and 60s, plus a couple from the teens, the earliest about 1914. I think 1965 is the latest I have. An additional note to Brian Hester - Michael Portillo is officially mentioned in next weeks 'Radio Times' as 'Broadcaster Michael Portillo' after the radio show he is presenting. Seems the transition from MP to media personality is complete!
Paul (Phillips) - I know what you are thinking. If the Conservatives had won High Peak there would have been no Labour majority whatsoever! Perhaps a hung parliament. High Peak was always a seat too far for the Tories. Hoping accountancy is not proving too strenuous (and you are enjoying it more than I did - seve ndays was enough...). Michael.
I was having a rummage through my attic the other day & came across a prospectus document issued to prospective pupils(& their parents) about to apply for Gayton as a high school in 1980. It lists all the course subjects available and what is contained in a basic syllabus. It also gives details of the extra curricular activities run by the school, the 'pastoral' care offered & the ethos of the school. It runs to about 30 pages - so its not a small document. Really good source material for anyone wanting to discover how the school was run at that time. Alex - do you have one of these in the archives?
To Brian Hester How are you, long time no write!! (me that is!) Michael Portillo has stepped down as an MP, and will be (as far as I am aware) concentrating more on TV. In the UK he has presented or featured on a number of TV Programmes.
Message to Michael Schwartz. I well remember the day when David told me you had become a local Conservative councillor by 2 votes. How ironic that your 1000 UKIP votes gave Blair yet another seat.Will remember your complicity over the next 4 or should it be 5 years.
Thanks for the info Tom. Too bad none of them made it. I do not see Portillo on your list. Did he make it?
Brian, There are no Old Gayts elected to Parliament in 2005. The results in the constituencies were as follows:-
Ealing North Stephen Pound Labour 20,056 Roger Curtis (Gaytonian) Conservative 13,897 Francesco Fruzza Liberal Democrat 9,148 Alan Outten Green 1,319 Robin Lambert UK Independence Party 692 David Malindine Veritas 495
Cotswold Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Conservative 23,326 Philip Beckerlegge Liberal Democrat 13,638 Mark Dempsey Labour 8,457 Richard Buckley (Gaytonian) UK Independence Party 1,538 James Derieg Independent 392
Harrow West Gareth Thomas Labour 20,298 Mike Freer Conservative 18,270 Chris Noyce (Gaytonian) Liberal Democrat 8,188 Janice Cronin UK Independence Party 576 Berjis Daver Independent 427
High Peak Tom Levitt Labour 19,809 Andrew Bingham Conservative 19,074 Marc Godwin Liberal Democrat 10,000 Michael Schwarz (Gaytonian) UK Independence Party 1,106 Tom Dennington
Do we have any word on the performance ofthe "Old Boys" who were candidates in the election?
re: The Granada Detention. I remember very clearly the misbehaviour and it was, even by today's standards, quite bad. My mum was incensed at the mass detention and even wrote to Mr Haley and Mr Avery to protest that I couldn't possibly have been even remotely responsible, as I played the flute so well! I remember Muir Mathieson conducting but have always thought it was the RPO. I must ask certain more senior colleagues in that band if any of them remember doing them. (if I was in it now, I'm sure I would put a dep in). Andy Findon (67-73)
Oops! So much for a grammar school education. I think I meant "complainants", not "complainees". Can't have bad grammar, syntax or spelling on this website, can we?
Talk of the Granada concerts brings back a less than happy memory. It would have been about 1970 or 1971 when certain elements of the HCGS audience decided to misbehave in various ways. Complaints were apparently made and at assembly next day everyone who had attended was cordially invited to a mass detention for one hour that evening. As a music lover then and now, I had been just as incensed at the bad behaviour as the complainees, so I was not impressed! So, come on you lads who were responsible, if you would care to own up now, you owe me an hour of your time! As an aside, Keith Macdonald, now living in N Berwick, if you read this, could you get in touch. The email address I had for you does not seem to work, which is why I have never contacted you again after our reunion a few years ago! David Barker (1967-73)
Hi, I live in NYC working on Wall Street, I went to Gayton and was in the Cadets while there, but lost track of everyone, i was there from 1986-88, anyone still out there? or remember anyone I noticed a 1987 picture and remember my teachers, im 30 single and living in NYC but still BRITISH! Take care. S.Patel
On the TV news yesterday covering the PM's visit to Watford, did I spot our one and only Norman Tyrwhitt lurking in the background? PV
These are the Gaytonians standing as candidates in the 2005 election: Richard Buckley (UKIP) Cotswold Roger Curtis (Conservative) Ealing North Chris Noyce (Lib Dem) Harrow West Michael Schwartz (UKIP) High Peak
Years of insomnia and sad late night surfing have finally brought me to the old school website. I have thoroughly enjoyed wallowing in the nostalgia. I met many friends at the 2001 reunion and this site has reminded me of many more. Does anyone remember the 1966 society? or those heady Lower 6th lunchtimes(1972 I think?) disembowelling old tv sets in the basement?
I regularly attended the Granada concerts in the 1950's and the orchestra was always the LSO and I am pretty certain the conductor was always Muir Mathieson.He had dignity, technique and great empathy with both orchestra and audience.
I'm pretty sure that in the early sixties the orchestra at the Granada WAS the LSO. I'm absolutely certain it was conducted by Muir Mathieson.
We have had problems, as Keith Williams has pointed out, with “Nigerian spam”. There was a big discussion about this a year or so ago amongst users of the website. It was felt that the possibility of old friends (or enemies!) contacting each other was more important than not leaving an e-mail address. Most people who post disguise their e-mail address, for example – jeffreyNOSPAMREMOVE@jeffreymaynard.com, and this seems to cure the problem. About once a week I check the postings and add in the NOSPAM for those who forgot. My ISP has quite good anti-spamming software, and I usually leave my e-mail address alone, so as not to confuse people. A spam or two everyday does get through into my inbox, but I just automatically delete them.
Following my recent missive to this site I have received e-mails from the UK, Nigeria, South Africa and I believe Uganda pleading with me as "a Christian Gentleman" to help the correspondent extradite/spend £10 million - $20 million rotting in some foreign bank account(wondered if any of my Jewish schoolmates were addressed similarly?). Now I fully realise that Simpson insisted his boys follow the path of riteous morality (oh yeah!), but the fact that the reputation of HCGS alumni has become common knowledge in such far-flung places as Nigeria amazes me. OK - my fault for publishing my e-mail address on this forum page (the only place I've done so)but perhaps we can find some way of hiding the addresses of members behind a password protected wall?
This is for Ian Sarginson, and comes from Newsletter 30 - the last from South Vale... "One lovely moment at the end of the game was when Andy Richards shook hands with George Cowan and the team insisted that GHC who has been amongst the first teams loyal supporters as OG and since we became West walked through the tunnel. George who is in his 88th year would after seeing a player once remember his name, (much as he did with pupils when Deputy Head at Harrow County)"
I think everyone might be right about the concerts at the Granada. Can't remember what the orchestra was in 1948 onwards, but it wasn't the LSO. As for the Beecham/Sargent stories, they are legion. Beecham scorned Sargent and an old friend of mine who played french horn with Beecham for many years delighted in recounting them. One related to Beecham being told of Sargent's tour to Japan: "Ah," he said, "A Flash in Japan." Particularly amusing to me was that my friend was retained for some years to raise funds for the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children. His name, by the way, was Frederic Lewis, whose credits may be seen on many British films of the 1940's and 1950's as Musical Director. Look for it after most Ealing comedies.
Just stumbled across this website and was amazed to see so many photographs and reminiscinces from my Old Gaytonian contemporaries. By the way I was identified in the 1951 Athletics photo, but not in the one from 1952, where I am second from the right in the back row. Got presented with the Junior Cup that year by Roger Bannister - a proud moment. Was in the rugby team too but must have been away when the photos were taken. And, confirming an assertion made earlier, on the days that rugby was cancelled we were compelled to take cross country instead, and the rugger players always drubbed the cross country acolytes. Memories of Swannee Amos and the pool abound, but I do recall that the pool always miraculously reached the schools required minimum for swimming, even though the water appeared to have ice floating in it! Brrrr! Also recall the school buildings that were under refurbishment, when we wilder boys spent break periods playing jevelins, whereby we hurled iron rods through asbestos panels. Always wondered if anyone did come down with asbestosis? As for violent masters, wasn't that the "norm"? Got a few wacks but that didn't seem to stop us defying the rules. Remember Dr Stein who took Biology, and who's command of English was so bad nobody could understand a word he said, consequently his classes nearly always collapsed into total disorder.
It was certainly 'Flash Harry' who conducted the year I heard the LSO. I distinctly remember the patent leather black hair. Brian Quilter the then school captain was taken to meet the great man.How was the OG dinner Phil? I gather you are home again.
Further to the comments provided by Brian Hester and Colin Dickins on the LSO concerts at the Granada cinema. No doubt, it was Muir Mathieson and not Dr Malcolm Sargeant (Flash Harry). My dad played in various orchestras under both of them, and he would have put Muir into a superior bracket above Flash Harry.(Both Muir and Doc Mathieson were in great demand for recording cinema soundtracks.) Malcolm Sargeant had nothing but contempt for orchestral players, and the players reacted accordingly. My father's favourite conductor was Sir Thomas Beecham, and one day at rehearsal "Tommy" stopped the orchestra, picked on one musician, and asked him why he was playing "that way". "I was told to once by Sir Malcolm Sargeant." he replied, to which Sir Thomas said, "SIR Malcolm? I knew he'd been doctored, but knighted?" Rumour has it that the then Dr Malcolm had been in hospital in Switzerland to have that operation generally performed on wayward tomcats.
Our thanks to Michael Dover for answering my innocent question. I had no idea the man could be so devious in achieving his objectives. All we were required to do as prefects was make sure everybody walked on the designated side of the corridors so masters could move easily, and supervise distribution of milk at morning break. At that time, milk arrived in quart bottles and had to be measured out into the mug each boy brought from home. To compensate for our services, we made sure that as soon as a couple of bottles were emptied, they were filled with cream from the remaining bottles. Our select group of growing lads got a pint of cream each morning to sustain us until lunch. I finally paid the price for this corrupt practice last year when I underwent bypass surgery!
Brian Hester asked the question on 7th April as to what all the Prefects did. Well I can speak for the year 1961-2 and the answer to what many did was absolutely nothing by Sqare edict. (There were 47 in my year) This was the first year where Square decided to appoint "inactive prefects" so Oxbridge candidates could put being a Prefect on their University applications but not have to do anything which might distract them from their studies. "Active Prefects" like me who could only aspire to Provincial Universities (i.e. "the thickies") did all the work such as it was because it didn't really matter to him whether we got anywhere.
Just had a quick glance at the 'new items' and was quite fascinated to read that the "Who's who in the school 1958 - 1959" was first published in 'The Gaytonian' in October 1955. Perhaps I might have stayed on for a year or so longer had I had the benefit of knowing whether I'd been selected as a senior prefect four years before my time! Nice to know that even our archivists get it wrong sometimes! P.S. Reference to Ubi Lane reminds me that his son was at school whilst I was there - I think he was a year behind me - but I can't imagine a much worse fate than being in a classroom where everyone roundly abuses your father for whatever imagined or real failures were perceived.
Re: School Gossip - March 1947 on the website. Fascinating stuff. This "Mr L. Bigham" who officiated at the opening of the new cadet force. Who he. I assume this is the same "Lt.-Col. W. M. Bigham, O.B.E., B.SC., M.I.Biol" that we all knew well from later years. How and why did he progress up the scale from a mere Mr L. I would like to know much more about the true history of this fascinating man.
That's fascinating, Colin. We always thought he was called 'Ubi' because of the Latin...little did we know the history and the manner in which previous boys' interventions had been bastardised. Whatever. He was a gentle soul who we all loved to bits.
Peter Fowler (as have others) refers to "Ubi" Lane. He was actually dubbed "Huby", after Hubert Lane, Willaim Brown's enemy in the Just Willaim stories. But names do change: the "Jumbo" Jones of my era was known to earlier generations as "Hippo" Jones. He taught Latin and Maths (Moggy Morgan was his successor) and was held in great affection and regard. And Brian Hester refers to what we knew as the "children's concerts" at the Granada. I remember those, but the conductor then (1947 onwards) was Muir Mattheson, not of quite the same calibre as "Flash" Sargent
My father Anthony Andrews passed away from cancer on 6.4.05. He was a former pupil at Harrow County Grammar School for boys. His date of birth was 5.12.34. I believe he started at the school in 1945. In the last year of his life he made contact with many of his old school chums through this website. These are details of his funeral so that his friends have the opportunity to attend if they so wish: Funeral is Friday 15 April 2005, St John’s Church, Grantham Road, Bracebridge Heath, Lincoln, LN4 2LD The service is at 10.30 am followed by a burial at Canwick Road New Cemetery. All donations are to Colon Cancer Concern and Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust. Sara Andrews (Daughter)
Just a thank you to the other organisers of last nights superb Old Gayts reunion dinner, the last that will be held at our Sudbury HQ. A great time was had by all!
The recent entry of the "School Gossip for March 1947" brings back many memories. Frey always displayed a strong religious fervor by reading a text on organic chemistry during assembly each morning thereby stealing a march on the rest of us! He also achieved note at table tennis, which he played with a slim volume on integral calculus in preference to a bat and displayed the incredible shot of spinning the ball so hard that it would actually bounce back across the net. He also developed a process for producing ammonium iodide on a semi-industrial scale, much to the dismay of the lady teachers who frequently found their chalk had been soaked in the substance so that it exploded when used. I wonder whatever happened to L. J. Lacey. This is the first entry to contain his name. I found him an inspiring teacher of mathematics but suspect he went on to other things once he had experienced the maelstrom in the common room following Simpson's appointment. I remember the LSO concert at the Granada very well. Malcolm Sargeant was the conductor (in his pre-knighthood days). The occasion was the first time I was to hear Brahms 'Variation on a theme by Haydn'.
Brian Hester: by the late 1950s the alarming inroads of International Bolshevism, in the form of the Artsy-Crafty Communist Mob, had called for a manifold increase in the size of the school police. I speak as one who was there and more than once witnessed the Headmaster at grips with this menace. But seriously: I haven't the slightest idea what they did.
I've jsut been looking at the list of prefects for 1958 and am surprised at the number. In my time (1940-47) we had twelve but here, 11 year later, there were 45, not counting the school captain and his deputy. What did they all do?
From the Gaytonian article just posted on the 1954 Railways and Airways Society: "On Monday evenings the old hands in this sphere initiate an enthusiastic working party into the mysteries of balsa wood, tissue paper and sweet smelling dope...." I had never realised, in my innocence when at school, that the lovely Ubi Lane - he of cricket, trains and Latin verbs - was so chilled out because he was rather ahead of the game in cultural matters.
I have long held the impression that the majority of my year and indeed generation ended up overseas. Is that really the case? and if so why?
Well done Colin! He definitely was Death pronounced deeth and I think he was known as Willie. He had a genuinely photographic memory which was most unusual and impressive. I read your piece on Simpson a while back and have been reflecting on it. I could not bring myself to admire him. He had integrity in that he believed in and practised consistently a set of values. They were so far from mine, then and today that I find it hard to admire him for them. I have an abhorrence for the Right and Left, the religious fundamentalists and anyone with a deep conviction that they foist on others that they have a monopoly on truth. I prefer to live in a world of evolution and change, to challenge contiinuously, to be ever curious and watch and participate in a kaleidoscope of the human condition. He wanted conformity and I could not deliver, indeed he helped me inadvertently to hone my rebellious instincts to a way of life. regards, gerry
Gerry Freed's contribution rings many bells. Although many of my views and experiences differed I was also a rugby refusenik, mainly at the instigation my father, who had played soccer for the School and the Old Boys was so opposed to it. Being of a naturally rebellious disposition where compulsion was concerned, I gleefully took his weekly letter to school excusing me from rugby on the grounds of severe myopia - but I joined the OGCC (with my cricketing father's approval!) and many members were also OGRFC members. I was persuaded to buy some large contact lense and join them in the winter and rather rued my lack of early training in another sport I came to love. My years were 1947-53, just ahead of Gerry, and he may care to read my alternative view of Square on this site. I also played chess, second board in the School team for at least two years, and the first board and captain was Nigel Walsh, with whom I played nearly every lunch time in the VIth forms. I think the captain Gerry referred to was Death (to rhyme with "teeth"), whom I never knew and was probably 1949 or 1950 intake. Lionel Needleman, to whom Phil Chesterman refers, was a lower board, perhaps because he was not a regular, but I shall remind Phil of that when he comes from Canada to stay with me next week for the final OGA Dinner at Sudbury. "Spider" Webb was, of course, Cob Webb an affable former builder's labourer who somehow got himself an education (and an accent to go intermiitently with it) and taught mechanical drawing in my day. He had a habit of punishing minor offenders with a quick slap across the face, saying, "The quicknes of the hand deceives the eye, eh, boy?" It was somehow acceptable because it was always done with a twinkle in the eye and the offence was then instantly forgotten and fogiven. On this theme, I must make mention of the many tributes to John Bodiam, whom I never knew. His seemingly well-judged physical punishments were recalled by many without resentment - even with affection - and there were none of the rather intense responses about "violence", "sadism" and "assault" which have come in elsewhere this guestbook from pupils of his years at the School. As I have said before, probably in other words, prompt, appropriate and commensurate physical punishment was to me and many of my generation far preferable to the delayed irrelevance of detentions and "lines". And it was over, done with and forgotten. I even forgave Moggy Morgan, to whom Gerry refers, for teaching me Latin declensions with the edge of a brassbound ruler - because he did it because he cared so much that I should learn. And since I came second in the School in O Level Latin (which would have astonished him - he left that summer before the results were published) who am I to question his methods?
To Phil Chesterman Thanks for that response Phil. I recall your name and that of Lionel but I cannot remember any specific chess games. What I wrote was unintentionally ambiguous. I was beaten loads of times at chess but by more luck than skill, not in interschool competition. Brian Harvey and I used to play chess on a virtual board during Wednesday afternoon Rugby games. We would shout our moves to each other across the field of play. Who won was doubtful, as our memories of the sequence of moves diverged fairly quickly. He certainly was a better player than me but I wish I could remember the name of the Club Captain. I really do not remember any school input on sex education. What I do recall is reading books on the subject (which were hard to find in those days) and giving a synopsis to a friend at the girl's school. Her parents were not amused!! I gave up chess at Uni and took up girls which was probably a wise decision. regards gerry
I loved the reminiscences of Gerry Freed (New items 27 March 2005) Congratulations on that article Gerry. However two interesting points, firstly, no sex education? You were a year or two late to meet Eggy Webb (and Dicky Dyer). Lucky you. Getting beaten at chess? Not, perhaps by Lionel Needleman? Since I came up against him I gave up playing against anyone over the age of five. My grandkids thought I was a Grand-Master... then they turned six, and found out.
Hi I am the son of "class 1924" Frank Jewell, who as noted in the history files did go to Stuttgart Germany in 1933 to work for Bosch for several years returning around 1936 - 7. He became a successful Engineer and after WW2, owned and operated a mid sized Diesel engines and heavy equipment distributorship for Lucas and CAV I am a Canadian, living here in Toronto since 1966, and was born the younger of two sons of Frank Jewell - in 1945. My father owned the Lucas and CAV distributorship two locations in London until he sold out in 1970 and he died around 1997. His life and times have always inspired me to do as he did and think success; today I am General Manager for Canada of a (coincidentally) German based company Wacker AG. We manufacture cinstruction machines. I went to a school on St Johns Road a private school, called The Kings School which apparently failed in the early 1970s. The Headmaster there was a fellow called Eric Perks.He was followed by Alain Launaey, the previous French Master. Nice to see my dad's name listed. Conatct me if you like I astill ahve his school rugby hat and report cards if you'd like to see them. Regards Dave Jewell
Pictus Libris Websitus
I am in the difficult position of having to praise Peter Fowler. Clive Pigram and Edward Lucas decided that Richard Bucley's and my UKIP candidatures were something to get sanctimonious about. Peter has maintained his usual satyrical stance on such matters. Considering the long slow death of the Tory Party, the choice of someone looking back to the days of Empire (which is NOT Richard) would be just the sort of candidate the Conservatives would want in their days of senility and going gagga. Michael.
I love the comments on UKIP. When I first saw it in print I thought I was meant to reply "ISNORE2" Political parties with strange acronyms never seem to do well. Canada's leftwingers decided back in 1960 to combine a couple of socialist parties to form the New Democratic Party, and lovingly called it the NDP. Worse still, it was the NPD in French, which also stands for Die Nationaldemokratische Partie Deutschlands. As a result many people whose native language was not French or English (including many Brits) shunned it, and may still do so to this day. Worse was to come, and I am not making this up. The rightwingers decided in the 90s to combine the Progressive Conservative party with the Reform Party (who had decided to become the Alliance), into the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, at a convention called to combine everyone, and announced the new name with considerable pride. I'll let you work out those initials. (It has since become simply the Conservative Party). If not for any other reason the Liberals are still in power, if only slightly.
I'm always interested when people like Edward Lucas (4th March) ascribe views to others they do not hold. If Edward really believes that UKIP is pro-colonialism or that I hold 'extreme right wing views' (a classic smear that which suggests, well, you know), and I suppose he might do, then he clearly knows nothing about UKIP and has never read anything I've written about Europe. I'm a pro-European sceptic in favour of European free trade, European partnerships and European collaboration. And I think our European neighbours are just great. I just want us out of the European Union, that's all, for reasons it would not be appropriate to go into here. Suffice it to say that I think the EU represents a bankrupt and staggeringly old fashioned view of the world. That's my view, it might not be Edward's, but it is entirely legitimate and not unreasonable. Oh yes, and I'm a libertarian too. I don't believe the state is our friend. But this, too, is hardly an unreasonable view. So why does he take such offence? I only raised it in a jocular manner because if the Pavi Fund is being divi'd out then I want my fair share. Er, that was a joke Edward.
just checking-have found some errors in photos of year 1953, as to form letters
I have heard from Alex Bateman that last Friday, Beryl Chase, former School Secretary, had a fall at home and has broken her hip. She is currently in hospital. I am sure that everyone will join with me in sending her best wishes for a speedy recovery.
I was at H.C.S. 1961 to 1969 via 1D, 2D, 3B, 4B, V2 and through the sixth form. Came across the website and remembering some friends like Ken Bangs, Stuart Relph,, and especially 'Ollie' Burrows and Tony de Vletter (and the agonising leg fights we had to see who submitted first before the teacher noticed the screams). Remembering the staff too, a few of whom included Harry Mees, Mr Bilson, Keith Neale, John Bunting, Norman Tyrwhitt......as well as the Colonel (Bigham), and Varsanyi. I am contactable via e mail.
Peter, Surely you mean "Woodpecker's" not "Winkelpecker's". Personally I don't think I will ever forget the morning assembly when Square invented a new word for the English language.
The Old Gaytonians Association Annual Dinner is on Friday 8th April 2005. The event is the last one to be held at the Sportsground at South Vale, Sudbury, costs £24 a head and the meal is due to start at 7.45pm with the bar open from 6.30pm. To book your place, contact John Nickolay: jnickolayNOSPAMREMOVE@hotmail.com
SIMPSON'S 1974 STATEMENT TO THE GAYTONIAN (SEE NEW ADDITIONS TO THE SITE) Translation You’re asking me about my retirement? Well, you know I don’t say much - but if it’s you, Gaytonian, I’ll let you on on my little secret. I mean, had I had the dosh, I would have cleared out the place, going to the dogs as it is. But I couldn’t – so I’ve chosen a place as near as possible to those places closest to my heart, and that’s Torquay. No one asks you what you did here. People keep themselves to themselves, just as I like it. Loads of people from all over the country have retired here, so even my fake accent isn’t noticed. Anyway, it’s great for me because even though I’m 70, most people here are even older. And those who have always lived here are perfect for me because they still live in the Days of Empire and I can’t see any of those anarchists and winkelpickers. My advice? Get down here and become invisible again. (ARS, Fawlty Towers, 1974)
I thought it was very interesting to read Richard Buckley's comments about being selected for Cotswold. Of course the tories would not have selected Richard for this seat as he may have won. Do we have to have people using this forum for their extreme right wing anti european views. I think that the EQ has only been the most important issue for people like Richard who seem stick in a colonial time warp.
Seeing as the '57 lot are hoping to have a Reunion - how about those of us from '56? I did put it to young Pete Fowler here some time ago as we all should be in our 60th year hopefully. Thanks Dave Coppinger for your support already. I would make the effort to come down from the Midlands to see everyone in The City!! We could even combine forces with our younger brethren. Any takers? We just need a date and venue if The School would have us. Robert Tabb 1956 - 1963
We need MORE of the 'Class of 1957' so any lurkers please contact me and we can then arrange a meeting during 2007. BTW it was Tovy, changed by deed poll due to parent's divorce. Marriage breakdown was rare in those days, compared with the norm of today's couples. As a young boy it was very traumatic, and I am sure that my stammer, which has long gone, was in part caused by the marital disharmony. Laurence
Hi Laurence I could be persuaded to mosey on down to some get together for the 1957 intake. Mind you calling the register might still be a bit of a problem. As I recall there was a plethora of D J Watsons as well as some git called Tovey who mysteriously had a name change. Cheers Harry Levine
For Old Gayts standing for Parliament see: http://www.jeffreymaynard.com/Harrow_County/paliamentarycandidates.htm
Well, it's all happening in politics, what with Richard Buckley's selection for UKIP. Good Luck, Richard! As for the comment that Buxton is the coldest place on earth, Peter Fowler is right. I had to cancel last week's Modern Greek class in Stoke-on-Trent precisely because of the treacherous roads. The speed I was doing, I would have got there for the last two minutes of the class. Michael.
I would love to hear from Terry Golding or anyone who has news of him. Terry was in the 1943 2D (Huts)intake and while in 5D broke the 100yds hurdles record. He played cricket for the first Xl in 1949-1950. Terry qualified as a Chartered Accountant circa 1953 after which (using all of his acquired skills) he served out his National Service as a Clerk - Pay Accounts in the R.A.F. Terry, love to hear some news of you. Roy.
Well, if we're having a share out of the Pavilion Fund (whose main victims were those, like me, who had a PR master as their form master, so determined were members of the PE 'team' [as I suppose we would now call them] to have their forms out-give each other at the Wednesday collection) I want some of it for my upcoming election campaign. After a promising political debut winning the 1966 HCS Mock Election against the trend I spent many years unsuccessfully trying to become a Tory MP. Like Michael Schwarz I too am now a UKIP candidate, for Cotswold, a seat I would have died and gone to heaven for when I was in the Conservative Party. Freedom and democracy for the UK. Friendship, trade and collaboration with the EU. That's it everyone, no more, no less (and to the doubters amongst you, the EU has trading agreements with 91 nations - if we left we would be the 92nd) I suppose I shouldn't make a political point here but, in my opinion, Britain's subjugation by the EU is the defining issue in British politics and everything else pales into insignificance. That's why I left the Tory Party after 40 years of activism.
Michael: John Redwood said 'U Kip?' My God, that spells the end of my fast-fading credibility. And no, I don't know the words of the Welsh National Anthem. Must make sure my ears grow. By the way....how does it make you feel that you and your party could, given the most recent polls, play the Ralph Nader card in the election? That you and your lot (give or take the odd Veritas intervention) could allow Saint Tony to swan his way back into his Fiefdom? Presumably with the Campbell back in his bolt hole? I do hope you can justify this before the Ghost of ARS. I have already contacted my medium friend and let this act of wilful subversion be known both to him and The Colonel. The Colonel was very non-plussed. Said something about a treble sweat period in the Gym either with Swannee (my generation) or that Edwards guy (yours?). I told him not to bother - I said that you now lived in Buxton, the coldest place in the whole damn country, and that you were suffering enough. And that the spa waters there, still detectable behind The Crescent, were perfect for a double detention.
Peter Fowler will be invited for drinks on the Terrace of the House of Commons. As for U Kip if you want to, I realise that Peter had Margaret Thatcher in mind - it's just that when I heard this comment it was from John Redwood. I can't see him as a heroine, unless this is another part of the conspiracy. (When I did meet Redwood at the end of 1995 he disdainfully told me "And I suppose you take an hour off for lunch." Lunch is obviously for wimps - we should get four months off during the summer, ahem, like MPs, and then complain about the hours...). Michael.
Yes Betty, his work was music to our ears...
I found myself here at your website after looking for information concerning Arthur Haley, who was one of my favorite authors. As I had not seen any newer publishings for some time - "Airport, Hotel, Final Diagnosis, etc." I entered his name into the "WEB" and found that he had passed on. Sorry - I enjoyed his work. (even if it was a bit sexy!). B. Cuneo
Since you guys made it all clear to me I now realise the last 4 letters of "Pavilion" make the word "Lion". It is now obvious that the Pavilion Fund was a euphemism for "British Lion Fund" for the defence of the Realm. Put that in your conspiracy. Seriously though folks I think we can conclude we will never discover where the money went unless a whistle blower emerges out of the woodwork.
Been doing some detective work, as befits Conspiracy Theorist No 1. I now know that the Pavilion Fund was stored in Simpson’s office, in its entirety apart from the occasional ‘borrowing’ of sixpences for the Head’s unfortunate cigarette habit. He took the stash with him when he retired and used it only occasionally for ‘moral’ purposes that befitted the philosophy of the school. It was the Pavilion Fund, for example, that kept Mary Whitehouse afloat for a number of years; and I believe it was accessed by Norris McWhirter’s Freedom Association for a time. Michael Schwartz, of course, is fully cognisant of all these facts. Google users will discover very quickly on the insertion of the name ‘Schwartz’’ the infamous Debbie Schwartz Charity Hoax, an obvious by product of the Pavilion Fund. Some of us are keeping a close eye on all of this, don’t worry. And Michael (to twist your heroine’s words): U Kip if you want to: me, I’m staying well awake and watching you.
Silly me for asking a serious question. Anyway thanks guys for making it clear. I now realise the Pavilion Fund was conceived in 1958 (Only 2 years after the Treaty of Rome) as a provision for the defence of the Realm in the event of an attempt to usurp our independence. This would appear to confirm "Square" as a fascist as stated by so many others. Over to Peter Fowler--There's enpugh material here for a major production -- TV rights ; the lot. Perhaps UKIP will put up the Funds!
The pavilion millions are not the only things missing; where is the Ball Cup and where is my gold St Christopher medal and chain taken from my blazer pocket in the gymnasium changing room during a PT lesson?
I note that Mr Schwartz is standing as a UKIP candidate. Who said former pupils of HCS didn't have a sense of humour or is it the ridiculous.
I see the pavilion fund has (again!) been mentioned on the website. I am now the prospective parliamentary candidate for UKIP in the High Peak (basically Buxton and Glossop). Perhaps the fund's takings should be discovered and transferred to my own election funds. That would then complete the conspiracy theory that Joe Avery and others were secret euro-sceptics and that this was the real purpose of the fund. Conspiratorially yours Michael.
On reflection I should have made it clear that my comments apply to the whereabouts of the Pavilion Fund.
I note Chris Rickwood is asking the same questions I did in September 2004 (See new additions for 7/9/04 but unfortunately still posted as "Missing") Serious comments were not forthcoming although Peter Fowler did construct a conspiracy theory.(See his comment in the Guest Book for 7/9/04) I too would like to know what happened to all my sixpences and many other contributions via Scout Jumble Sales etc. Just to put these questions in context if the monies had been invested in conservative accounts the Fund would now be something like £250,000. Somebody must know what happened here especially as contribution records were made of who gave what. Does the Council have the "loot" and if so can it be recovered for a worthy cause?
Hello Ian, Many of the Odd (Freudian slip - I'm leaving it in...) Gayts have seen George regularly at the rugby club since he retired. His address I have somewhere but probably it would be easier for you to get it from Alex Bateman or John Rigby of the Rugby Club. Who could possibly forget the memory man - the human camera that is George?
I'm trying to trace George Cowan, who was deputy head at Harrow County School from 1964 to 1975. Before he came to Harrow he taught me classics at King Edward VII School in Sheffield. In the same classics set was Peter Cowan, George's son. Any information about either of these two would be warmly appreciated. Thank you.
re: unidentified boys on 2B 1964. Its Ken Weston next to Varsanyi and its Ken Evans next to Tash. Next to Evans is not Norris unless he's bilocated from 2D. god how do i remember.
I'm looking for anyone who remembers John Michael Barstow. He actually attended Chester College in Sheepcote Rd. in the 1940s but he did have friends at what became Harrow County. He lived in Wembley. He and I were great friends, I went into the Army and he into the Navy and we lost contact. He would now be in his 80s. I am interested to know what became of him - who knows, we could yet meet up if he is still around. Cheers, Courtenay Smithers
Today's Harrow Observer has an article on a new publication "Pinner Celebrities since 1670" published by the Pinner Local History Society. The article states that was initially the brainchild of (Society) member Jim Golland. The article then goes on to give a profile of Jim who gets as much column space on his past life as the rest of the celebrities put together! Mentioned in the article are Elton John, Bob Holness, Isabella Beaton and von Ribbentrop (yes, he had a house in South View Road).
I have just seen a letter in Accountancy Age about the submission of tax returns from one Peter Edney? Is that "our" Edney? Ian Gawn
With the temporary demise of this website over the past few weeks I was unable to record the sad passing of Terry Brigden, just before Xmas. Terry, who's wife died during the summer and who learned that he had cancer in the same week, never recovered from the double blow. He had lived in Hatch End for most of his life but, in his final weeks, he moved to Cardiff to be closer to his remaining family. A memorial service, held in December, was well attended and reflected his wide range of interests. Terry will, doubtless, best be remembered for his contribution to the 4th Harrow ( Merrymen ) but insofar as schooldays go he was one of a dedicated group of us who would be at Lower Mead in wind, rain or sun, to watch The 'Stones'. I had the pleasure of joining Terry for various social events over the past few years. He was always good company and a real friend. Rest in peace.
Phil Roe Attended A school about 1945 and to which he refered as Harrow..Seeking to contact him.. Ex RAF Changi Singapore. With infinite respect can you trace him as an old Boy?..
Another Jim/John Bodiam recollection: In Physics: "A machine is something that does work. Work is what is done when mass moves through a distance. A labourer climbing a ladder with a hod of bricks on his shoulder is thus a simple machine. Exactly how simple, of course, depends on the labourer". Great stuff.
Interesting to read Frank Kirkham's piece concerning Mr Bodiam, all I would say is that (a) he was the only science master at Harrow County, apart from Mr Neal, who taught biology I think, who ever got me to understand and possibly even enjoy anything in a laboratory (b)he had a memorable sense of humour (I only now remember a very bad pun about zinc) and (c) when there was a mass beating he cleverly adjusted the force depending on how culpable you really were! He was no sadist, unlike the fiend Bigham (I still dream of suing the London Borough of Harrow about him).
I was sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Bodiam. I have always thought of him as a good science teacher. He taught me something that I have never forgotten -- that if you can only just hold something in your hand without saying "Bugger, that's hot!", then it is 70C. Now that's the kind of teaching that a teenage boy can relate to, and it has been repeatedly useful to me over the years! I am also grateful that he moved extremely fast to shove my head under the water tap when I failed to mix the ingredients properly in the synthesis of acetaldehyde. The resulting gush of concentrated sulphuric acid soaked my lab coat and got in my eyes -- in the days before protective glasses were required!
BRIEF MEMORIES OF Mr JT BODIAM BSc
By Frank Kirkham 1961-69
Like Mick Boggis, I should like to say that I, too, was sad to learn that Mr John Bodiam had passed away. I managed a grade E at Chemistry O level. I never found chemistry easy but remember a good deal of it being fun under his teaching. Some of the experiments he showed us came under the heading “bucket” chemistry! “For this experiment we need a pinch of salt,” he would say, tipping a huge amount of sodium chloride from an enormous cube-shaped tin into a large beaker. Big bangs and much smoke were the entertaining result. “This is arsenic, good for mothers-in-law,” was another favourite saying.
In 1961/2, form 1B had their weekly chemistry during periods 1 and 2 in a laboratory on C floor (C7, I think). JTB would start every lesson with an oral test consisting of ten dictated questions, which we answered in our ‘rough’ books. He would get us to swap books before reading out the answers. Having marked our neighbour’s test, books would be given back. He would then go through the register asking us to announce our own mark out of ten and he recorded these in his mark book, no doubt using his distinctive fountain pen containing red ink. We soon learned that it was a good idea to have scored seven or eight. To score less resulted in some kind of corporal punishment (usually the slipper referred to by Mick Boggis) and to call out nine or ten meant that you were more likely to be one of the two or three whose tests he would check, seemingly at random.
After assembly on Wednesdays, we would make our way up to C7, enter the room, find our seats (or stools) and await JTB’s arrival. On one such morning, we were talking loudly amongst ourselves when the staff room door opened. “Number one!” he shouted down the corridor. “What is the formula for water?” And, as he entered the lab: “Number two!” Meanwhile there was a panic-stricken scramble for rough books, pens and textbooks while we desperately tried to remember the first few questions in our heads.
On another occasion that year, two sorry-looking boys were already standing at the front of the lab before we arrived. Their crime had apparently been to carve their names onto desks in JTB’s form room (a non-lab containing a hotchpotch of mixed desks of variable vintage). How they had found space to add a fresh name I have no idea! (And it was probably a mistake to carve their own names!). JTB picked up a Bunsen burner with rubber tubing attached. He swung the tubing round in the air to create a loud and frightening swishing sound and proceeded to whip each boy over the backside six times each. They were reduced to tears and I know that several of us wet ourselves just witnessing the event. I shall withhold the identity of those two boys for the time being. Despite the fact that they were in our year group, I never liked to ask them about the incident. Perhaps, as at least one of them has an email address on this website, we shall hear their version in due course.
That incident apart, I remember JTB as a good teacher. He certainly made chemistry clear and interesting. In 2A we had Mr Steed and for the first term in 3B we had Mr Hood. He only lasted the one term, probably because he had absolutely no control or discipline whatsoever. Mr JA Gibbs, who started at the school in January 1964, did a much better job for the next two terms of the third year but I was delighted to have JTB again for the fourth (O level) year.
He drove a Hillman Minx and lived at one time in, or near, Denham. I do not know whether he drove to Harrow every day but on at least two occasions he was driving along Long Lane in Ickenham at the moment I was waiting to cross the road to go to the station. He sometimes stopped and gave me, and whoever I was with, a lift to school. One day, as we rounded a bend near Ruislip Manor, JTB had to slow down to avoid two girls aged about ten riding two abreast on their little two wheeler bicycles. JTB simply said: “Too young for you!”
He was a CCF officer in the naval section. As I was an army cadet, I thought that our CCF paths would not cross but, on Arduous Training in the Galloways in July 1965, JTB led a group of us on a two-day expedition across some wild country. We camped alongside Loch Twachton at the foot of Merrick. JTB was great fun on this expedition and taught us a great deal. That year was his last on arduous training (my first) and I was, personally, sorry that he left HCS the following year.
Two of his fellow navy-section officers, Reg Goff and Arthur Haley, have also recently passed away. Mr Caprara, if you are out there, do take great care!!
Here is Professor Peter Ackroyd's obituary from the Daily Telegraph. His son, William Ackroyd,was a solicitr and I worked for him in the 1970s. He has now retired to Spain. ................................................... The Rev Professor Peter Ackroyd (Filed: 29/01/2005) The Reverend Professor Peter Ackroyd, who died on January 23 aged 87, was a distinguished scholar and taught at Leeds University and Cambridge before becoming the Samuel Davidson Professor of Old Testament Studies at London University, occupying the chair for more than 20 years. He was also a visiting professor at many American universities, and his expertise in the archaeology of the Near East brought him chairmanships of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Palestine Exploration fund. The author of numerous books, including some important Old Testament commentaries, and the editor of a valuable series of volumes on the Old Testament and biblical theology, Ackroyd was, sadly, unable to produce the magnum opus he had long intended and to which his colleagues had looked forward. Part of the explanation for this lay in his decision to leave the task until he had retired from academic work. His father had lived to be over 100, and Ackroyd, who laid down his teaching responsibilities when he became 65, believed that he had many years ahead of him for substantial research and writing. In the event, however, ill heath intervened, making such work impossible. Peter Runham Ackroyd was born at Harrow on September 15 1917, and went from the local County School for Boys to Downing College, Cambridge, where he read Modern and Medieval Languages. He later spent two years at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the London MTh and later completed a Cambridge PhD. Brought up in the Congregational Church (which became part of a new United Reformed Church in 1972), he was minister of the Roydon Congregational Church in Essex from 1943 to 1947, followed by a year at Balham Congregational Church in south London. But although a diligent local church minister and a fine preacher, it was always apparent that he would be drawn to academic work, and the opportunity for this came in 1948 when he was appointed Lecturer in Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew at Leeds University. This led to his appointment, in 1952, to a lectureship in Divinity at Cambridge, a post he held for the next nine years. During this time he gave the Hulsean Lectures, which he devoted to Hebrew Thought of the 6th Century BC and its contribution to subsequent theological development. The continuity of religious thought in the Old Testament and the adjustments involved was a subject that always greatly interested him. Ackroyd took an active part in university affairs, as a member of the Council of the Senate, and, having decided to move to the Anglican priesthood to become a honorary curate at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, he represented Cambridge in the Convocation of Canterbury from 1960 to 1964. For most of this time, however, Ackroyd was at London University, having been appointed in 1961 to the Samuel Davidson chair, tenable at King's College. During the next two decades his reputation as one of the leading English Old Testament scholars became firmly established. Ackroyd's many publications included The People of the Old Testament (1959), Israel Under Babylon and Persia (1970) and Studies in the Religious Tradition of the Old Testament (1987). He was editor of the Cambridge Bible Commentaries and joint editor of the Cambridge History of the Bible, contributing an introductory volume showing how the Bible came into being. He also translated several books by German scholars. Ackroyd's influence as a teacher was considerable, and a new generation of Old Testament scholars was nurtured by him. He was in constant demand for lectures overseas as well as for service as an external examiner in British universities. None of this stood in the way of an important contribution to the administration of London University as Dean of the faculty of theology and as a member of its Senate. He was also Dean of the faculty of theology at King's College, of which he became a Fellow in 1969. He was President of the Society for Old Testament Study in 1972, serving as its Foreign Secretary for three years, and was made an honorary member of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1982. Peter Ackroyd's first wife, Evelyn, died in 1990. He is survived by his second wife, the former Ann Golden, whom he married in 1991, and by two sons and three daughters of his first marriage.
I'm sorry to hear of Mr. Bodiam's death.He joined HCS in 1959, as I did, and taught me physics in my first year. I recall his weekly 10 question physics test on the previous week's work when the tenth question was always about a topical news matter. One week he asked for the name of the Prime Minister of France. Everyone else put Charles de Gaulle. I was the only one who answered correctly. I know I got it right (being the only member of the form to know that de Gaulle was President, not Prime Minister) but all these years I have thought that the answer I gave was Maurice Couve de Murville, who didn't become PM until after Pompidou in the late 1960s, when it was actually Michel Debre. Another reason for not writing my memoirs. The other thing that occurs to me is what on earth am I doing at 9.14 on a Saturday looking at this site?
Three down, about 120 to go! Come on chaps. Laurence
For Laurence Lando - As one of the September 1957 intake (1C), I'd be very pleased to get together again. Let me know when and where and I'll be there!
Just like to say how sad to hear of Jim Bodiam's death. Perhaps I have been under a misapprehension for the last 40+ years, but I always understood him to be Jim, not John. I stand to be corrected. Most of my contemporaries only seem to have fairly negative recollections of him, but I found him an excellent teacher, one of the best in my school career. He could also be very funny if you got on the right side of him. His rather startling blond hairstyle quickly earnt him the nickname Bogbrush, I recall. He also started the Radio Club, which was probably the first School Society I joined (possibly the only one) soon after joining, where we discussed the relative merits of superheterodyne and TRF receivers and other esoterica. He carried one of the 60's-standard-issue Size 14 slippers around in a very battered briefcase, but when in C7 or C8 favoured a length of reinforced laboratory hose to beat us with. Ah, happy days! He managed to teach me enough Chemistry to enable me to get a B at O-level in the 4th. year, the only one I got that year, and for this I am still grateful. He was my House Section Master (remember that particular bit of Simpson idiocy c1963?), and was thus duly dragged into ARS's study one afternoon where I was about to be caned yet again for something or other, probably truancy, smoking, insolence, or all three. To my amazement, he spoke up for me, telling The Good Doctor that my academic progress had been much improved of late, particularly in science subjects. Square was surprised at this, but nevertheless still caned me. However, I've never forgotten JB's intervention, as it was probably the only time in my entire school career that any member of staff ever voluntarily had a good word to say about me. Chaneg of subject - just a word about The Pavilion Fund. Pete Fowler is right, questions need to be asked in The House! At an ex-HCS event a few years ago (might have been the 90th. birthday thing) a few of us exchanged some words with Norman (Nick) Tyrwhitt on this very subject. "What exactly did happen to The Pavilion Fund?" NT remembered that sometime in the early 70's Mr. Avery said he'd spent it on "a good cause", but was unable to specify excactly what cause that might have been. He said that he and other staff had wondered about that at the time, but said that "Mr. Avery assured us it had been well-spent, and that was good enough for me!" This was uttered witb a big grin, and it was quite plain that he didn't have a clue either. Those of who forked up our tanner every week (note for younger readers: tanner = 6d = 2.5p) deserve to be told! I nominate Alex Bateman, as Keeper Of The Records, to investigate this and report back!
Martin - My favourite trip to Plessis was circa 1980. On the coach on the way to Gar du Norde somebody removed a certain person's (name removed - editor) trousers and threw them out the window. (he didnt have a spare pair and no-one else would lend him any) Later on the train to Calais he removed his underpants and we took a tour of the train together. He was insistent on waking up young women by sitting on their laps and asking 'would you like to see ...(rest of story removed - too riskée, even for this site! - editor) ... Enjoy Plessis weekend, I am still in Munich & give the oldies my regards John John
Gor blimey luv, we was never that posh, always took the poor boys, not like the tofs at the top of the 'ill.
Are you able to help please. Do you have archives of pupils who may have been at Harrow (when it was a public school) around 1890 to 1900 please. Searching for the name of Henry Oswald Lane, born 1885, his brothers John Hulme Lane and Hugo Lane. Can anyone be of help please. Kind regards Peggy Ansell
Hey Wendy! Our Geoffrey has a bigger one than yours - and he's recently got it up and running again! Remember everyone - it will be the 50th time of French visits, thanks to the endeavours Ted Blundell & Jack Herman. If any one has ANY reminiscences of any rugby fraternity involving Plessis Robinson et seq since 1955, please post on this MB, mail me or preferably send me a jpeg of a suitable photograph. We might have a stab at compiling some sort of Old Gaytonian / Plessis history - on a CD (and that doesn't necessarily mean C olin D ickins!)
Hey I found it really interesting that you have the same name as my husband! He too is Jeffrey Maynard!
Well done Peter for responding to my search for pupils who joined HCGS in September 1957. Now for the other 119 young/old men who will be needed to make the event a success. I have spoken with John Reeves, Tony Arkey lives in Hong Kong, some have sadly passed away. Let's remember them at our Meeting. Laurence Lando NB no 'w' in Laurence
If Lawrence Lando wants to organise a get together of 1957/58 onwards pupils, certainly from our class, I'm certainly up for it. Just tell me when and where and keep me in the loop.
On one of my spasmodic but always enjoyable visits to the site it was sad to read that Deryk Peperell had died. Recollections surged. The quality I most lacked in the cricket spectrum was a sincere dedication of the sort that was second nature to Deryk. Not too long after I had left school, circa 1947, he enrolled me into the ranks of the O.G's. I have scant memories of my other playing colleagues in that era. Peperell himself was obviously an indelible presence and for a while I opened the bowling with Cardew the Cad. A camp follower in those days was a fellow Thespian, Charmian Innes. Many years later, post-National Service, in a fit of renewed enthusiasm I returned to the fold still being able to raise the occasional left-arm bender. Peperell. again, was an essential part of the orchestration. Clearly, he was, as ever, the determined and respected elder statesman. I fluctuated between the 1st and 2nd's for several seasons before the pressures of the outside business world asserted a precedence. A number of the names mentioned by the earlier writer are familiar, John Barthomelow et al. Other names were Arnie Hyde and Peter Garwood; both batsmen with that touch extra of elegant class. And Ed Naylor put in the odd appearance. In that spell, I developed an enduring friendship with a fellow banker, George Lang, sadly no longer with us either. But no sign of any of those who represented the School in teams for which I played. Mackay, May, Weary, Coxon, Heslop, Devereau, Gordon Smith and others. Like in my case, I suppose, their commercial interests and geographical locations spread them far and wide. Looking back, in the O.G. firmament several pronounced, undeniable Titans emerged. In that bracket, from my personal and limited experience, I would include Jack Herman and Deryk Peperell. Whilst I did run into Deryk at Lords rarely, it is a huge regret that I enjoyed so little of his company in more recent times when leisurely hours have proved more abundant. Rob Farley.
If anyone can remember either my late father - Henry John Clifford Elcome (usually know as 'Cliff'), or my uncle - Geoff Luscombe, I would be interested in hearing from them. Both were also in the ATC there, although my uncle left it in favour of the Sea Cadets ( I guess he liked boats/ships more than aircraft!).
I've just read the reminiscences of Victor Dobb. The name ofthecaretaker who ran the tuckshop was a Mr Warner, nicknamed 'Plum'afeter a famous cricketer of the time
Eric Driver's comment about the annual revues reminds me of the performance by Weldon in December 1946. Dr. Simpson (yet to be named 'Square'), had only been at the school for three months but had already become famed for his judgement that some deviation from the rule "was a clear case for corporal punishment". Weldon's contribution was entitled 'Mutiny on the County' and featured a boy called Page (who had already announced that he was leaving at the end of the term) in the cast of the captain. Page put on a fine Scottish accent and strutted about the stage announcing that various errors by his crew were 'a clear case for keel-hauling'. Unfortunately, the script no longer survives. In January Dr.S announced that 'some of the performances had not come up to standard'and that the whole concept of annual reviews was going to be considered. I believe there were no reviews for one or two years but am sure Weldon's effort contributed to this decision.
Great to se G G Lawrance's wittily informative contribution. Makes me feel young(-er) to see something from someone who went to the School four years before I was even born!
Congratulations on a splendidly comprehensive website. I was pupil 1931-36. Must look again when restoration complete. Some minor corrections are needed in the Staff List 1932 FRENCH DEPARTMENT: R W Hartland was a D. Litt and therefore merits the title 'Dr', as he was always accorded (except by the boys who referred to him as Sorbo on account of his rotundity). ELEMENTARY PRACTICAL WORK; E A S Evans and H S Parkinson should both be given the title 'Mr' as they are elsewhere, eg under MATHEMATICS and ENGLISH respectively. Otherwise it looks as though these manual subjects were taught by rude mechanicals such as a plumber and carpenter who were not to be confused with the academics on the staff (cf Gentlemen and Players). GEOGRAPHY: E A S Evans is here wrongly listed as A A S Evans.
Yes, congratulations indeed, for getting the site back up in running order. It's getting as addictive as a cup of coffee..... A question (which may have been answered before but which I cannot find any record of): where did Bigham's nickname of "Shwok/Schwok" come from? How long had it been around? I recall one of our annual revue's required a station name and I suggested "Bullschwok Junction" (probably picked after a certain film had just been showing); this brought a huge gale of laughter when the curtains opened up on it. As I recall the revues were the only chances we had to get back at our 'masters' without retribution. Well, none that I was aware of, anyway.
Hearty thanks and congratulations to Jeff for getting the site up and running again. The passing of New Year's Eve brought to mind the many NYEs spent with the Band at what I think is now called Brent Town Hall plaing strathspeys ad reels for the Harrow Caledonian Society. Not a problem when 14 or 15, but when girlfriends started to figure in one's social plans, then playing for the Caledonians began to pall a bit given the optiion of NYE with a girlfriend. I even remember one of our lot (no names, no pack drill, but DM we know where you are) telling his Dad that if he missed the last train from Harrow on the Hill he and his squeeze could kip down on a station bench. Parent's response not in the affirmative (remember this was about 1960!). They caught the train. Happy New year to one and all. I will get back on the Class of 55 reunion trail in a week or two - busy time at work. Ian Gawn
Congrats Jeff: Now I know how my neighbour's dog felt when he was castrated. Even a brief abscence is a long time to go without this site
To all Old Gayts A belated Happy New Year to you all. Those of you who don't know me, I run the archives for the school and the Old Gayts Association, as well as editing the Association magazine. Any contributions to either very welcome. Congratulations Jeff on gettng the site back, and thanks for all the work.
I know, jokingly, the question has been asked "What happened to the Pavilion Fund?" but I'd like to pose that question seriously. Are there any sources of school accounts etc in Archives?